Leaders of the Catholic Church has expressed opposition to the presidential bid of Davao strongman Rodrigo Duterte.
In a report by the Philippine Star, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, reminded Catholics that Duterte's platform of governance is based on violence and is against the seventh Commandment.
"Kahit ano pa ang motibo, ang pagpatay ay isang krimen at isang kasalanan, kriminal o awtoridad man ang gumawa nito," said Villegas as quoted by the Philippine Star.
(No matter what the motive is, killing is still a crime; it doesn't matter if it was done by a criminal or the authorities.)
The Lingayen Dagupan archbishop also shared on Twitter a link to the controversial video of Duterte wherein he joked about the 1989 gang rape of Australian missionary Jaqueline Hamil.
The prelate challenged his followers to "judge for (themselves) if this is the right choice."
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma also advised Filipinos to choose a leader decent enough to represent the country in world affairs.
"When we elect people in power, we expect them to serve, but at the same time they should also relate with other people in many parts of the world," said Palma to Cebu reporters on Monday, April 18.
"What if this kind of joke will spread to other people from different parts of the world? Can we feel at ease with that kind of person?" added Palma.
Duterte drew flak from church leaders, women's groups and human rights advocates for his controversial comment, but refuses to apologize for it.
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Progressive women's group Gabriela called out Duterte and demanded an apology.
"Rape is a serious crime not just against women but against humanity," said Gert Libang, Gabriela national vice chairperson, as quoted by the Inquirer.
The women's advocate added: "Rape, or any form of sexual abuse is not a joke, nor something to be trivialized in a joke, especially by a public official and most especially by those aspiring for the highest post in the land."
Aside from demanding a public apology, Gabriela also challenged the presidential aspirant to use his campaign to promote discussion on issues that will elevate the condition of women, instead of making jokes about them.