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Bishops told to speak up and speak loud

MANILA (SE): An uncharacteristic hush has come over the normally garrulous Philippine bishops since the president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, launched a stinging attack on several of their members and the Church in general in mid-May.

The Mouth from the South referred to the bishops as sons of bitches and called the Church the most hypocritical of all institutions, as well as threatening to name those who have children or a few skeletons stored in their cupboards.

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Duterte declares open season on journalists

MANILA (UCAN): “You are not exempted from assassination if you are a son of a bitch,” president-elect, Roderigo Duterte, said on May 31 in response to a question from the media about a confrère murdered in Manila a few days previously.

The Philippines is already listed as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, as the numbers killed over past years keeps it in the top 20 of the deadliest countries for those who pen the news.

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Call to axe two bishops

Manila (SE): A diehard supporter of president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, is calling on people to support a petition to have Archbishop Socrates Villegas and his predecessor in Lingayen-Dagupan, Archbishop Oscar Cruz, fired.

An online petition signed by Lorbertson Borres Jr. was posted on change.org on May 26 and by 5.00pm on May 28 had garnered 8,394 signatures.

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All the president’s men

DAVAO CITY (SE): Despite the outlandish claim that he has rid Davao City of crime, the infamous death squads championed by the former mayor of the city and now president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, are back at work.

After a bit of a lull in proceedings, the men behind the guns have again been active, as the president’s men in the style of the death squads of the martial law president, Ferdinand Marcos, are reported to have eliminated three petty criminals in Davao during the days prior to May 27.

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Election outcome: rule of law or the gun?

The greatest upset in Philippine presidential elections this past May 9 has been the phenomenal ninety-day campaign by the then little-known mayor of Davao City in Mindanao-—Rodrigo Duterte, a one term congress member but mayor for more than two decades. He rose to national prominence three months ago by being his own true self.

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New administration urged to investigate unused Yolanda funds

MANILA (Agencies): Caritas Philippines has called on the country’s next administration to urgently investigate funds donated towards the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) amounting to billions of pesos, left unused by the government of outgoing president, Noynoy Aquino.

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Detained but free to vote

MANILA (Agencies): Some 42,252 prison detainees across The Philippines got to cast their vote during the May 9 elections, CBCP News reported on May 10.

“We recognise the rights of the detainees to vote and choose their respective candidates,” Richard Schwarzkopf Jr., the superintendent of New Bilibid Prison, Metro Manila, said.

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One of three priests-turned-politicians wins election bid

MANILA (Agencies): Only one of the three Catholic priests-turned politicians succeeded in their election bids for public office.

Father Jeemar Vera Cruz, from the Iligan diocese, was proclaimed the new vice-mayor of Iligan City for a first term on May 10.

Vera Cruz, former vicar general of the diocese, defeated acting vice-mayor Providencio Abragan by over 12,000 votes.

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Release El Niño funds now Caritas Philippines urges

MANILA (Agencies): “We are appealing to the newly-elected president to listen to the cries of the hungry farmers, especially here in Mindanao. They have already suffered enough from this climate crisis. Why let them wait for too long when money is readily available?” Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said.

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Philippine clergy urged to help fight stigma by taking HIV test

Manila (UCAN): Father Dan Vicente Cancino, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippine’s Commission on Health Care urged the clergy to have HIV tests. “Priests can help fight the stigma by undergoing HIV tests themselves,” he said on May 14.

“The real challenge (in fighting HIV and AIDS) is the stigma and discrimination,” said Father Cancino.

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