‘Sue us,’ says Philippine bishop after Duterte criticizes pastoral letter

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

July 21, 2020

Manla, Philippines – Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila, defended a recent pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines criticizing the Philippines’ newly passed anti-terrorism law.

Church and human rights groups oppose the law due to what they say is its vague and ambiguous provisions, reported ucanews.com.

But on July 20, President Rodrigo Duterte’s legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said the letter “appears to have violated” the Philippine constitution with regard to separation of church and state. Panelo also accused the Philippine bishops’ conference of pressuring the Supreme Court in “calling for prayers” and appealing to the conscience of the court’s members.

Pabillo, however, has said that being bishops or clergymen did not divest them of their civil and political rights to free speech, because they are still citizens of the state.

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