Watch: President Duterte blasts the Catholic church and its bishops

The Philippines president-elect accused the Catholic church on Sunday of hypocrisy, saying the bishops who had condemned him during his campaign had been asking favors from the government.

Rodrigo “the punisher” Duterte, who won the 9 May presidential elections by a landslide, caused outrage in the church hierarchy in December after making a rambling and obscenity-filled speech cursing the pope. About 80% of Filipinos belong to the Catholic church.

Duterte, who has since flip-flopped between defiance and remorse over the remarks, directed his anger towards the bishops who had criticised his papal jibes.

“You know the most hypocritical institution? The Catholic church,” he said, in statements aired by broadcaster ABS-CBN on its website.

He accused the bishops of asking for money from the government, saying it was another form of corruption.

Duterte said the church had opposed his election but that it had served as a referendum, showing he was more influential.

“Look, were you able to stop me?” he said, citing his victory by about 6m votes.

Bishops had assailed him for calling the pope “a son of a whore” and, in April, for joking about raping an Australian missionary woman who was raped and killed in a prison riot in 1989.

The Catholic church also recently said it opposed Duterte’s plan to reinstate the death penalty.

Although Duterte was baptised a Catholic, his spiritual adviser is Apollo Quiboloy, head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, a non-Catholic religious group based in the southern city of Davao.

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