Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has urged people to stop going to church and said they could build their own chapels instead.
Duterte has faced fierce criticism from Catholic bishops over his ‘war on drugs’, which has seen thousands murdered in apparent extra-judicial killings. Police say they all died in gang shoot-outs.
Yesterday he caused further outrage when he said he would set up a ‘Duterte Death Squad’ to kill members of the Maoist New People’s Army.
He has previously said ‘God is stupid’.
According to UCA News, Duterte said of bishops who had criticised his no-quarter drugs policy: ‘You don’t have to go to church to pay for these idiots.’
He has accused Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who has criticised drug-related killings, of giving church donations to his own family, saying in a November 22 speech: ‘You, David, you be quiet. You go on asking for contributions… Where does the people’s money go?’
He said: ‘You know, the truth is, I tell you, the offerings, the pineapple, avocado, bananas, where do they go? You want to know? I will show you. [They go] To his family.
‘The fool just keeps on asking – there is even a second collection.’
Duterte said he thought David might be taking drugs himself, to which the bishop replied on Facebook: ‘No sir, I’m not into drugs of any sort, whether legal of illegal. Never been.’