Duterte claims Tagle moved from Manila to Vatican for meddling in politics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday claimed Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was removed by Pope Francis as Manila Archbishop for allegedly funneling funds to the opposition.

He alleged there was an investigation against Tagle that's why he was moved to a top post in Vatican, adding the information is an open secret.

"Tignan mo nagamit nila ang pera. Kinontribute nila doon sa yellow-yellow. Tignan mo nangyari. Wala tayong bishop ngayon. Hindi mo ba alam? Tinanggal... Tagle was out. He was investigated.

[Translation: They contributed the church's money to the opposition. Look at what happened, now we don't have a bishop because Tagle was removed. He was investigated.]

Tagle was appointed by Pope Francis in December 2019 as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, one of the leading departments in the Roman Curia. He recently joined the Pope in Vatican City on Ash Wednesday in February.

Duterte added this is the reason why Pope Francis has not appointed a new Manila Archbishop since Tagle's departure in February.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo was designated as the Apostolic Administrator of the Manila archdiocese. He has often spoken out against the Duterte administration's war on drugs and the President's attacks on the Catholic church.

Other bishops were not pleased with the President's allegations.

Pablo Virgilio David, Caloocan bishop and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines simply scoffed at Duterte's claim, calling it "unbelievably ludricrous" in a Facebook post

David is also a known and staunch critic of the Duterte administration and has been at the receiving end of the President's tirades in previous speeches.

Meanwhile, Balanga, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos maintained that Tagle has a clean record with the Catholic church.

"All lies. Distortion of truth...Cardinal Tagle’s assignment in the Vatican is a grace from God, a gift and blessing to the Philippines," Santos told CNN Philippines in a text message.

He added, "In the Church being faithful is to be fruitful. Cardinal Tagle is dedicated, devoted, his fidelity... to Jesus and to the Church is solid and untainted."