‘False prophet’: Duterte, the Catholic Church and the fight for the soul of the Philippines

Source: The Washington Post

March 4

A world of sin. A weary savior. Filipinos know the story well.

Since coming to power last summer, President Rodrigo Duterte has used biblical language to build a case for mass killings, vowing to sacrifice himself, even his son, to cleanse the nation of crime.

Conjuring a world in which evil stalks the innocent, Duterte launched a wave of violence that has claimed at least 7,000 lives. With his critics cursed and shamed, and with public support for the president running high, the establishment, including the Roman Catholic Church, has for the most part stayed quiet.

But now, more than seven months into Duterte’s tenure, with the death toll climbing night by night, the country’s Catholic hierarchy is finding its voice. In a pastoral letter published in February, church leaders denounced Duterte’s campaign as a “reign of terror” against the poor.

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