Duterte: I'll have myself crucified if priests debunk an allegation in 'Altar of Secrets'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he will have himself crucified if priests debunk just one allegation in the book "Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church."

The book, written by Filipino journalist Aries Rufo, reveals sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement by some members of the clergy.

"Kung masagot nila ito at sabihin nila may isang bagay dito na mali, abangan ninyo ang Holy Week. Dito ako magpalansang sa krus sa Bulacan," Duterte said at the unveiling of a high school in Bulacan.

[Translation: "If they are able to answer it and tell me one thing here is wrong, wait for Holy Week. I will have myself nailed to the cross here in Bulacan."]

During Holy Week, many Catholics seek penance to atone for their sins and pray for miracles. The most extreme of which is having themselves crucified, like Jesus did.

"Pero huwag naman matagal. Siguro mga 30 minutos ka naka… kaya ko man 'yan. Walang -- walang yabang," the President added.

[Translation: "But not for long. I think 30 minutes will do. I can do that, I am not boasting."]

He urged the Catholic Church to correct the wrongdoings and tell the people the truth.

"Kasi kami we'd had no choice when you - when I was born. Catholic 'yung nanay pati tatay ko. I was brought to the church. Eh 'di wala akong magawa. It's not my choice actually, it's a choice of my parents," Duterte said.

The President usually hurls tirades against the Catholic Church in his speeches, claiming he himself has been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest when he was a student. Sometimes, he also urges the audience to read the "Altar of Secrets" and even gives away some copies.

Duterte in July 2018 met with Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Romulo Valles in a one-on-one conversation, where the President vowed to stop his outbursts against God and the Church. This was supposed to be followed by Malacañang's dialogue with the CBCP, which has yet to happen. Duterte remains popular in surveys despite majority of Filipinos being Catholics.

READ: Satisfaction with Duterte up in Q4 — SWS  

The Church has been one of the institutions critical of Duterte's controversial polices, including the bloody war on drugs, which has seen over 5,000 deaths in police operations.