MANILA - Besieged by criticisms from President Rodrigo Duterte, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas asserted Monday that clergymen are not afraid of the sharp-tongued leader. "We are only afraid of sin, we are not even afraid of God because I know God loves me so much, I have no reason to be afraid of Him," Villegas said during a forum with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
"The Church is only afraid of sin because sin separates us from God. All the others are manageable." Villegas, however, clarified that he is not picking a fight with the President nor implying that they are equals.
"There is only one that makes us afraid and that is sin. All the others, if God is with us, no one, nothing can ever be against us." Duterte has insulted Catholic Church leaders who have opposed his bloody war on drugs, his backing of the Reproductive Health Law, and his move to revive the death penalty.