Duterte to priests: You should all die from venereal disease

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President Rodrigo Duterte. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — President Rodrigo Duterte did not take a joke on his health lightly — and even hit back at the priest who wanted him to get sick. 

"Itong pari talaga, to wish ill? Saan ka nakakita ng pari dito na, 'Mamatay sana si Duterte', eh di sabihin ko na lang din 'Mamatay sana kayong lahat ng venereal disease,'" he said upon his arrival from official visits to Israel and Jordan Saturday.

[Translation:That priest, to wish ill? Where have you seen such a priest to say "Duterte must die," then I should say instead, "You should all die from venereal disease."]

Duterte was referring to Father Noel Gatchalian who celebrated mass for Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, whose amnesty he voided on August 31. The priest had said he was praying that Duterte should fall ill amid allegations of his failing health, a claim which Duterte denied.

READ: Duterte: I am alive and fairly healthy

The President went on and called out the clergy for being hypocrites, adding they have "orphanages" for children they create despite practices of celibacy in the Catholic church.

"T****** niyo, akala niyo di namin alam," he said. "May orphanage kayo existing now where 'yung mga anak ninyo na sikreto, diyan ninyo nilalagay."

[Translation: You think we don't know? You have an orphanage now where you leave your secret children in.]

Duterte has had a strained relationship with the Church, especially after stringing alleged sexual abuses committed by its members. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had attributed Duterte's sharp remarks to his experience of molestation from clergymen.

But tensions arose anew after he called God "stupid" in June, and further opted to "shake the tree" by offering to resign if God exists.

READ: Duterte: My God is not your God