Duterte on sexual abuse of nuns: The Church has to reform

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President Rodrigo Duterte (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte calls for reforms in the Catholic Church, saying no less than Pope Francis acknowledged the problem of priests sexually abusing nuns.

"The Pope is in Dubai. He admitted yesterday na 'yung mga madre, 'yun ang konsumo ng mga pari," Duterte said in a speech in Legazpi City, Albay Friday night. "Sinasabi ko na sa inyo eh (I told you so). The Church has to reform."

In a flight to Rome from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, the Pope said, "There have been priests and also bishops who have done that," when asked about abuse of nuns. He added, "We've been working on this for a long time."

Duterte reiterated that he himself was molested by a priest when he was young. He said priests, during confession, would abuse him and his classmates, including Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez – who earlier confirmed Duterte's allegations.

READ: Dominguez backs Duterte's sexual abuse accusations vs. priest  

The President again urged people to read the books, "The Popes" and "Altar of Secrets," saying he would step down if anyone could belie the allegations he has hurled against the Church.

"I will ask you to go to Malacañan. State your case in front of the camera and if you are correct, I will resign," he said.

The President has frequently attacked the Catholic Church, accusing it of corruption and abuse and mocking its practices and beliefs. Malacañang has said that since the Church throws criticisms against the President, it should be ready to accept some harsh words in return. Duterte also previously called for bishops who criticize his administration to be killed.

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.