President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has changed his mind about visiting Pope Francis to personally apologize for cursing the Catholic leader in a public speech in November 2016.
“No more. That’s (letter of apology is) enough,” said Duterte in an informal press conference on 15 May 2016.
Duterte told reporters that his visit “could be an exercise in duplicity” as the country’s bishops have campaigned against him during the election.
Lingayen – Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas issued a statement just weeks before the May 9 elections urging his flock to pray the rosary “(so) we can crush the devil’s head and let the Lord of History reign in our beautiful land.”
Duterte’s camp made a big deal about the Davao City mayor flying to the Vatican City to say sorry for his inappropriate remark. Duterte took a big hit in the surveys for cursing the beloved leader of the 87-million strong Catholics in the Philippines.
During his declaration as PDP-Laban’s standard bearer, Duterte ranted about going through five hours of traffic in Metro Manila for Pope Francis’s visit in January 2015.
“Gusto kong tawagan, ‘Pope putang ina ka, umuwi ka na. ‘Wag ka nang magbisita dito,” said Duterte.
With Duterte’s renewed vow to kill criminals and reimpose the death penalty, a meeting with the Pope could also be awkward for both parties.