Gunfire erupted between Philippine security forces and militants in Marawi City in the mid-afternoon Tuesday. By the time the sun had set on the small southern city, President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law in the region and vowed to end his diplomatic trip to Moscow early.
In the hours between, violence and confusion consumed the community, as armed men linked with the Maute Group occupied the Amai Pakpak Medical Center and several other major buildings. Philippine Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is in Moscow with Duterte, told a news conference that militants even set fire to some of those buildings — including the city’s jail, a local Catholic church and Dansalan college. Continue reading →
Pope Francis will bless the Philippines and its leader Rodrigo Duterte, an aide to the president said, in a gesture of goodwill to a controversial figure known for his lurid lambasting of priests and bishops.
“When I had the opportunity of kissing the hand of the Pope, I said, ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness,’ and his answer was, ‘Yes, I will also bless your president,'” presidential adviser Jesus Dureza said in a video clip at St. Peter’s Square, shown on television Thursday.
Dureza is in Rome ahead of peace talks between the government and Philippine Maoist rebels. Continue reading →
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 favours 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. Continue reading…
The Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has described the Catholic Church as the country’s “most hypocritical institution” and says he is ready to take on senior Filipino bishops in a debate about their wrongdoings before he takes office next month.
- Duterte questions relevance of Catholic Church
- About 80 per cent of Philippines population are Catholic
- Duterte says church asks favours of him
The tough-talking 71-year-old has yet to be proclaimed the May 9 poll winner, but an unofficial vote count by an election commission-accredited watchdog showed a huge lead over his rivals, three of whom conceded defeat. He is due to take office on June 30. Continue reading…
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The police warned 14-year-old Bobby Alia that there would be consequences after he was accused of stealing a cellphone in November 2003, the boy’s mother said. A few days later he was dead, stabbed in the back with a butcher knife.
He was the third of Clarita Alia’s sons to die in Davao, the southern Philippines’ largest city, in killings that remain unsolved. A fourth was killed in 2007. All had been accused of crimes, all were stabbed and all, Ms. Alia said, had received similar warnings from the police.
For years, rights groups have called for an investigation into whether Davao’s mayor, Rodrigo Duterte — the tough-talking politician who next month will become president of the Philippines — was complicit in the killings of hundreds of people in Davao since the 1980s by what they describe as government-sanctioned death squads. Continue reading…