Novaliches Bishop-Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr. on Tuesday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to walk the streets without his bodyguards to protect him.
"Meron lang akong friendly challenge kay Presidente Duterte. Simple lang na ganito. Alam niyo kaming mga Obispo naglalakad kami, wala kaming bodyguard, wala kaming bullet-proof vests, wala kaming mga security aides na nakapaligid na marami, wala kaming dalang baril, gano’n kami," Bacani said, according to church-run Radio Veritas.
"Ang challenge ko kay President Duterte kung talagang matapang siya, simple lang, gawin niya 'yung ginagawa namin," he added.
The dare came on the heels of Duterte's recent remarks urging jobless people to rob and kill Catholic bishops.
In a speech at the birthday celebration of Masbate Governor Antonio Kho last week, Duterte said: “Kaya pagdating ko sabi ko, ‘Hoy, kayong mga tambay diyan, ‘pag dumaan ‘yang obispo ninyo holdapan ‘yan maraming pera ‘yan p***** i** niya. Patayin mo."
Bacani said bishops are not afraid of roaming around communities without security escorts. By doing the same, Duterte would see how people from different walks of life would really react and mingle with him, the bishop added.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said the President's tirades were only directed towards religious leaders who are living luxurious lives as opposed to their teachings.
"In the case instant, he wishes to stress the failure of some bishops to empathize with the masses as they live comfortably in their rectories while the latter endures the vestiges of poverty," Panelo said. —Dona Magsino/KG, GMA News