President Rodrigo Duterte’s relationship with God changes—depending on what he needs to invoke Him for.
In an online press briefing May 27, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said when asked about supposed calls for Duterte to run for vice president in 2022: “I think I will quote the President, he leaves it to God.”
Duterte ends his term as president next year, a position he can only hold for one six-year term as provided by the 1986 Constitution.
Last month, House Deputy Speaker Eric Martinez said members of the political party PDP-Laban urged the president to run for the second highest office in the land next year.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also said in a TV interview on Tuesday, May 25, “Si Presidente magiging open lang ‘yan kung may clamor.” Panelo added that he asked Duterte’s position on the possibility of going for the VP position and the president told him that he “will leave it to God.”
Three months as president, in October 2016, Duterte told his audience in a sports complex in Brunei Darussalam that it was God who made him president. “Ang Diyos ang naglagay sa akin dito. Ang pagka-presidente ko, almost destiny. It's a miracle to me. He wants me to improve my country, stop corruption and make the lives of the Filipinos comfortable people,” he said.
Like profanities, God has played a part in many of Duterte’s speeches—sometimes getting cursed by the president too.
In June 2018, he called God “stupid.” This after two years of cursing, unprovoked, at world leaders like then US President Barack Obama in 2016; women’s rights activists, nuns and priests, and critics.
Saying, “Who is this stupid God?” Duterte referenced the biblical story of Adam and Eve being thrown out of the Garden of Eden after they ate the forbidden fruit. “You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,” he said, and blasted the Catholic concept of “original sin.”
This sparked anger in the Philippines and ridicule abroad.
Days later, he clarified that it was other people’s God that was stupid, not his. “I didn’t say that my God is stupid. I said your God is not my God because your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense.”
On another occasion he called the Catholic Church “full of shit.”
Malacañang officials, often seen as interpreters of the president’s language, defended Duterte as being Duterte.