Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte criticized the bishops of the Catholic Church for supposedly attempting to erode public support for him before the May 9 national elections.
In a report by ABS-CBN News, Duterte told press in Davao City that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released a pastoral letter days before the elections dissuading the public from voting for "a candidate" who has shown "scant regard" for the rights of others and the teachings of the Church, an indirect reference to Duterte.
CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has previously criticized Duterte for allegedly cursing at Pope Francis for causing heavy traffic during his visit to Manila last January 2015.
Despite the call for the Catholic Church against Duterte, he still won the presidential elections and said his win was a "public referendum" between him and the bishops.
"Sabi ko, this will be a referendum kung sinong tama sa atin. Look, were you able to stop me? Iilan lang kayong mga obispo diyan," Duterte said.
Duterte also discussed in the press conference about pushing for a three-child policy.
"I am suggesting that you are in good hands if you limit the number of your children," he said.
He also said that he is no longer a member of the Catholic Church.
"Di na ako miyembro ng Katoliko. May bago ako, lipat na lang kayo dito sa Iglesia ni Duterte," he said, in jest.
[Photo: Mike Alquinto/NPPA]