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COPA’s Saycon links Duterte’s outburst vs. Catholic Church to destab plot


President Rodrigo Duterte's outburst against God and the Catholic Church may have something to do with alleged efforts to remove him from office, a member of the committee tasked to dialogue with church leaders said Thursday.

Interviewed on News To Go, Pastor Boy Saycon said Duterte believes some leaders of the Catholic Church are involved in a plot to oust him.

"The destabilization plot against the President is real. The effort to remove him [from] office is something that he attributes to some of the leaders of the Catholic Church," said Saycon, secretary general of the Council for Philippine Affairs (COPA).

Saycon said this in relation to Duterte's admission that he is pushing his limits of what he can say in public, including his tirades against the Catholic Church.

"Kaya 'yun, sinabi niya na yuyugyugin ko itong puno't malalaman ko kung sinu-sino 'yan," he said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, declined to comment on Saycon's claim.

"You'd have to ask him. All I would say is I'll talk to Pastor Saycon and tell him about standard operating procedures of the Office of the [Presidential] Spokesperson now that he has joined the four-man panel," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a news conference.

Roque also advised Saycon to be "more careful" about his public pronouncements.

"I'll have to tell him to be more careful about what he says to the public and to the media and that there's vetting processes before we're able to say anything to the media," he said.

Saycon is part of the four-man committee tasked by Duterte to hold a dialogue with the Catholic Church and other religious groups amid his intense criticism against God and teachings of Christianity. The other members are Roque, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio "Jun" Evasco Jr. and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella.

Asked on Saycon's inclusion in the panel, Roque said, "We would like to tap his network, relations with leaders in the Catholic Church." 

Saycon, who described himself as a devout Catholic, said despite Duterte's sharp criticisms, going against religion is not part of the administration's policy.

"It is not a policy that the President is referring to when it comes to religion," he said. —with Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News

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