Duterte under fire for comment on Pope Francis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Davao City Mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte drew criticism over his controversial comments about the traffic during Pope Francis' visit in the country early this year.

Duterte supposedly cursed at the pope on Monday (November 30) over traffic jams caused by the papal visit in Manila last January.

"Natiming sa traffic... Inabot kami ng limang oras. Sabi ko bakit, sabi nila sarado na ang... Sino darating? Si Pope. Gusto ko tawagan, 'Pope, [Filipino cuss words], umuwi ka na. Huwag ka na magbisita dito,'" he said.

[Translation: We were affected by the traffic. It took us five hours. I asked why, they said it was closed. I asked who is coming. They answered, the pope. I wanted to call him, "Pope, (cuss words), go home. Do not visit us again.]

CBCP, Lacierda fire back

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Socrates Villegas said he can only grieve in great shame when Pope Francis is "cursed by a political candidate" and the response that candidate receives is boisterous laughter.

In a statement entitled "Mayor Duterte?," Villegas said, "When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people... My countrymen has [sic] gone to the dregs."

Villegas ended his statement with the following questions: "Is this the leadership by example that Mayor Duterte excites in us? Is this the leadership by example that makes a public official deserving of the title 'Honorable'?"

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, meanwhile, took to social media to condemn Duterte's words on Pope Francis.

"Mayor Duterte, you can say all you want about politicians, but you don't curse my Pope Francis! #defendthepope," Lacierda tweeted.

In a text message to CNN Philippines, Lacierda clarified that he did not comment as a government official but as a Catholic, adding that if Duterte wants to hit the government, that is his right.

"His words speak for themselves. Check his own words...  It's about respect and decency," Lacierda said. 

Duterte clarified during an ambush interview that he was not cussing Pope Francis. He instead claimed that he was calling out the government for its failure to ease the inconvenience to the public.

"Eto si Pope wala na ito, nasali lang iyan dahil sa [Filipino cuss word] ninyo. So don't blame me, blame yourselves. You make people angry. And when a person is angry, a Filipino is angry, nagsasabi, nagmumura talaga yan," he said.

[Translation: Pope Francis was just dragged into this because of your doing. So don't blame me, blame yourselves. You make people angry. And when a person is angry, a Filipino is angry, that person will cuss.]

Watch: Possible shifting alliances over Duterte's 2016 bid