Press Release
February 27, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 475:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the death threats vs. bishops and priests


The Catholic Church cannot possibly trust Duterte when he says that bishops and priests should not be harmed, and that those who harm them will have to deal with him. In the first place, he is the one who threatened bishops with murder, when he asked "tambays" to rob their bishops because they are rich, and to kill them if they resist.

In fact, the Catholic clergy was never threatened with harm by anybody until Duterte said that they are better off dead. No one in this Catholic country, whether politician or ordinary citizen, ever had in his agenda the killing of bishops and priests, until Duterte started it. Only Duterte, among all the inhabitants of this country, said that the bishops deserve to be robbed and killed. The death threat came from him. His warning now that they should not be harmed can only be addressed to him.

Strange as it may seem, the President telling himself not to carry out his threat to kill bishops is not entirely unexpected. Once again, Duterte is toying with officials of the Catholic Church with his sick jokes that can only come from a sick mind. What is worrying is that Duterte's jokes can be taken seriously by his executioners who have already reiterated the same death threats to several clergymen.

Duterte is not fooling anyone with his Pontius Pilate act. As it is for the victims of the drug war, when men of the cloth become the targets of Duterte's assassins, it will be no joking matter. The blood of murdered priests and bishops will still be on his hands. The real tragedy here is not that more people will die, but that we did not stop the madman even after he started going after the leaders of our church.

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