Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has reportedly apologized to God after a series of incendiary remarks about the Almighty’s existence, or lack thereof, in recent weeks.
The controversial statesman was meeting with his top legal adviser Salvador Panelo and Eddie Villanueva, the founder of the Jesus Is Lord Church, at Malacañang Palace in Manila, where he is reported to have said “sorry” for previous remarks, in which he promised to step down if a Christian can prove that God exists. Duterte had also called God “stupid” during a discussion about the Bible in June.
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Villanueva asked Duterte to apologize to the Almighty, Panelo told ABS-CBN News. “Immediately after he made those remarks, [he] said, ‘Sorry, God, hindi ka kasama dito, you’re not included,” Panelo said, adding that relations between the two noticeably eased afterwards.
Tensions had been high between Villanueva and Duterte, after the religious leader threatened to mobilize some of his group’s 10 million members for a prayer rally if an apology was not forthcoming. Duterte was intransigent.
“No, I will not do that, definitely. Not in a million years,” he said. “God is personal. It is not formed by textbooks. You nurture God as your faith based on the values that you get from life early on from your parents.”
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Villanueva had complained to the Philippines broadcaster ANC that the president’s words were blasphemy of “the highest order” which invited the “wrath” of God.
“The Bible is clear: when you slander God, you are inviting curses not only to yourself but to the entire nation,” he said.
Now, it seems the pair have drawn a line under the dispute, agreeing that the falling-out was due to little more than “a misunderstanding,” according to Panelo.
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