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Palace welcomes CBCP’s remarks on possible cooperation with Duterte admin

Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Socrates Villegas as regards possible cooperation between the Philippine Catholic hierarchy and the Duterte administration.

“The statement of Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President, that Catholic bishops are open to exploring avenues of collaboration with the Duterte administration is a welcome change,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Villegas in a television interview on Wednesday said that he would not let the differences between the Catholic Church and the Duterte administration keep them from helping each other.

Abella, meanwhile, stressed that the drug rehabilitation phase of the government's war on drugs was already underway.

“While the bishops are ‘100% against the proliferation of drugs and support 100% the campaign against drugs,’ they emphasized rehabilitation which is part of the second phase of our anti-illegal drug campaign. We thus look forward to their help in treating drug dependents and restoring their mental, spiritual, and psycho-emotional health,” Abella said.

The spokesperson also took note of the good words that Villegas said about the Duterte administration.

“We note the good bishop's statement that the Catholic Church ‘is not against the President’ but against some policies and measures that they believe ‘would not help the Philippines and the Filipino people’; and his statement that ‘it is not the business of the Church to be leading political upheavals,’” Abella said.

“It is a good reminder that power struggles between church and state belong to a dim dark past, and in a world that has evolved by leaps and bounds, it is imperative that all work together to put food on every table, no matter what beliefs one holds in private,” he added.

Duterte has been criticizing the Catholic leadership for criticizing the drug-related deaths in his administration.—NB, GMA News