CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Bishops dismiss Duterte’s resignation threat

MANILA (UCN): At least two Catholic bishops have dismissed the threat by Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, that he would resign out of frustration over his failure to address corruption in government.
 
In a speech on August 14, Duterte said he was ready to quit the presidency should the military and police find the right successor.
 
Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said, “The problem with commenting on what Duterte says is that his words are not reliable,” adding, “He can just as easily take it back.”
 
In his speech Duterte said, “I am telling you, I am ready to step down and retire,” adding that he was tired and frustrated by corruption in government.
 
“I am exasperated because however I try ... graft is so embedded, it is endemic and it is always part of the territory of a transaction especially by government,” the president said.
 
“I do not think I can fulfill my (election campaign) promise to the people (to end corruption in government),” he added.
 
However, Duterte said he is hesitant to allow his vice president, opposition leader, Leni Robredo, to succeed him should he step down.
 
“I have nothing against Robredo. She’s a lawyer, you have heard her talk, but I do not think she can improve on anything here,” he said.
 
Ominously, he said he could only trust the military to “control (the situation) when everything breaks down.”
 
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said, however, that Duterte should try to “win his fight” because he promised to get rid of corruption when he took office.
 
“To resign is to accept that he is failing when it comes to corruption,” the bishop said.
 
“Our advice is fight corruption whatever it takes, set a good example and do your best, so that there will be no regrets at the end,” he added.
 
The opposition were less charitable saying that Duterte should just step down.
 
“Let’s give the president the benefit of the doubt that this time, he means what he said that he was thinking of stepping down because he is tired of chasing the corrupt,” leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Erin Tanada, said.
 
“Our unsolicited advice: Just do it,” he said, adding, “It is not up to the president ... to decide who takes his place when he steps down.”
 
This is not the first time that Duterte has threatened to leave office. In July, he said he would step down if somebody could prove the existence of God.
 
At the beginning of his term he said he would resign if the Philippines had not rid itself of drugs and crime after three to six months. 
 
“It has been more than two years since and crime is still rampant in the streets,” Tanada observed, adding that Duterte’s repeated threats to quit “denigrates the presidency.”

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