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Catholic church leaders give Duterte failing mark ahead of State of the Nation Address

Several Catholic church leader gave President Rodrigo Duterte a failing mark ahead of his annual State of the Nation Address later this month.

“He hasn’t stopped corruption. Poverty remains widespread. There is no peace. There is no change. He has not fulfilled his promises. He is incapable of uniting the nation,” Redemptorist priest Amado Picardal.

The former executive secretary of the Commission on Basic Ecclesial Communities of the bishops’ conference said the president deserves a “0” mark for his “lack of competence and compassion.”

“His priority is going after (television network) ABS-CBN, silencing (online news media) Rappler, (and) imposing the Anti-Terror Law,” said the priest.

“He doesn’t care if people die of COVID-19 or hunger or killed by the police. His war of drug is war on addicts and pushers through extrajudicial killings without going after the drug lords,” added Father Picardal.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos in the central Philippines also gave President Duterte a failing mark.

He said he was not satisfied with the government’s response to the peace process, the killings of suspected drug users and peddlers, and the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law.

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“On the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I’ll give him a 4,” said the prelate.

Bishop Arturo Bastes, retired prelate of Sorsogon, said the president deserves the “lowest grade” because he allowed the Chinese to enter the country during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Permanent Committee on Public Affairs of the bishops’ conference, said he was also dissatisfied with the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He gave the president a failing grade of 3.

“There is lack of urgency. He undermined the virus. There is simply no vision or direction. It’s more of a catch-up response. There’s no sense of transparency,” said the priest.

“He always appeals to the public to simply trust him but has so far made no sense of accountability to what, how, when public resources are being used,” added Father Secillano.

Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz, however, gave the president a passing mark of 7.

“I think he also did something. But the people are not satisfied because of the COVID-19. His performance is really affected,” said the Mindanao prelate.

“I’ll give him, maybe a 7 because he acted immediately, although many are complaining about the [government’s aid program for those affected by the pandemic],” he said.

Under the Constitution, the president is mandated to deliver his State of the Nation Address before a joint session of Congress every fourth Monday of July.

President Duterte will deliver his fifth SONA on July 27 either in the presidential palace or in front of a limited number of legislators in the House of Representatives building.

“Either way, it does not matter. What is important is he will report to the nation, and the Constitution does not require from where he will make the report,” said government spokesman Harry Roque.

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