Davao City, August 7, 2018—What had been mere speculation weeks ago is now a reality: President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to found a new religion. Making a surprise appearance today at the ongoing 4th National Catholic Media Convention in Davao where his daughter, Davao City mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio failed to show up to give the Welcome Remarks at the Opening Mass on August 6, the president announced to the 141 Catholic media practitioners from all over the country that he is, indeed, bent on founding a new religion.
Bishop of Pasig and chair of the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications Mylo Hubert Vergara, was attending a meeting with Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles at the latter’s residence when Duterte popped up at the Mergrande Ocean Resort where the annual convention is being held. To the surprise and delight of the media people present, President Duterte held a no-holds-barred impromptu press conference, and said, “You are in Davao, you are all my guests, so I will be generous. So fire away! Ask me anything and I’ll give you scoops I will not give to the stupid Manila media!”
The first question, from Edwin Lopez of EWTN, was “Why are you starting a new religion?” to which Duterte replied, “There is a need for one. I am not satisfied with the existing religions—they are all useless. None of them can help the suffering of our people. Puro sila seremonya, kanta-kanta, bibliya-bibliya! Makain mo bang bibliya, putang-ina! The only religious service worth watching is Quiboloy’s—ang gaganda ng mga babae don, nakakalaway! Dapat yang mga pari, mag-switch na ke Quiboloy, stop being hypocrites!”
A follow up question was: “Would your founding a new religion mean total war against the Catholic Church? You are always attacking the priests…” Duterte replied, “Eh sinong gusto mong tirahin ko, mga Mormons? Suminga lang ako, patay na sila! Siyempre mas malaking challenge na tirahin yang mga Katoliko—may kato na, baliko pa! They are the powerful ones, and being powerful they can be oppressive toward the people, sa totoo lang! Look, all the Catholic nations have poverty as a major problem! Huwag kayong tatanga-tanga, mag-research kayo! In countries where Catholics are a majority, there is an unbridgeable gap between the rich and the poor!”
A parish pastoral worker from Albay, John Paul Gutierrez, asked, “How do you propose to start your new religion—isn’t it a tedious process?” His reply: “I am the President of the Philippines. If any country boy can start a religion that would become an international sensation, why not a President of a republic? I can do what I want not only because I have the power to do so, but because I have the passion for it. Kayo, kahit ang Pope niyo, hindi magawa iyan!”
Follow up question: “But wouldn’t your founding a religion be a slap in the face of the Iglesia ni Kristo who all voted for you?” Duterte grinned and said, “Ah, I love the Iglesia ni Kristo—they are not an enemy. In fact, I intend to make them a sister-religion. Yung sa akin, Iglesia ni Digong.” Sr. Everlyn Miramar, a nun from St. Paul, stood up boldly and asked, “Will your new religion also have nuns, sir?” Duterte snorted and said, “Ay siyempre naman, sister, kung wala, sino na magpunas ng puwet ng mga pari?” Laughter followed, then Duterte rebounded, “Joke lang Sister, wag mo siryosohin. Na-kyutan lang ako sa iyo. Hindi ko pa alam kung magkaroon ng mga madre ang relihiyon ko, but I suppose they will be useful for rehabilitating drug addicts, or as caregivers to politicians in the departure area, you know, like Enrile, etc.”
Minnie Agdeppa from the Diocese of Novaliches asked, “Mr. President, how do you plan to win decent followers to your new religion when you cannot keep your promise to clean your language?” Without missing a beat, the president said, “Why are you media people always criticizing my language? That’s who I am. That’s how I get things done. That’s how I got voted into office. Pero sa totoo lang, walang masama diyan sa akin! I have foul language because I eat durian for breakfast, lunch and dinner. What’s so immoral about that?”
Apolinario Samar, who works at the Pasig Diocesan office, politely asked, “What will be the principal teaching of your religion, sir?” Duterte replied, “You know. I cannot rush these things. You have to give me time. I am still waiting for inspiration, maybe in six months it will come. However, I am sure na sa relihiyon ko, walang bawal-bawal! You can do anything you want! Pero dapat meron ding Ten Commandments…” The crowd speechlessly hung on to the president’s word: “Siyempre you can’t take that away from me. I was raised a Catholic—ang nanay ko, rosary yan umaga, tanghali, gabi, para ako bumait.
|Duterte the boy. Photo courtesy of Pinterest|
1. I am the Lodi your god. Thou shalt not have other Lodis before me.
2. Thou shalt not speak the name of your Lodi in vain, because I am not a stupid god.
3. Honor the Sabbath Day—kung wala kang pahinga, mamatay ka maaga.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother—otherwise hindi ka nila pamanahan.
5. Thou shalt not kill—puwera lang kung nanlaban.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery—but it’s okay to kiss thy neighbor’s wife.
7. Thou shalt not steal anything below six million pesos—and don’t get caught, please.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against me—that’s fake news.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife—kill the husband first to legalize your lust.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods—unless you’re Chinese.”
The media people took selfies with the president on his way out, but they admitted they were reluctant to file stories anywhere, because one never knows when the president is joking or serious. The encounter, however, became the highlight of the day at the convention whose theme is “Fake News and Journalism for Peace.”
As you may have noticed by now, dear readers, the above news item is fake news. And that’s the truth.