CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – There were no words of inspiration to his fellow Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) members when Pres. Rodrigo Duterte spoke before thousands of local officials and supporters but the usual tirade against drug addicts, the Commission on Human Rights, Communist insurgents, opposition senatorial candidates, and the Roman Catholic clergy.

Duterte was the guest of honor of the PDP-Laban sortie held at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) in Barangay Lapasan here on Saturday night. He later raised the hands of the political party’s official senatorial candidates.

In the middle of his close to two-hour speech, the President even threw a copy of a book that he said detailed the scandals inside the Roman Catholic church, probably to show his anger to this religious institution, thrice.

Duterte sometimes would tell his audience in his past speeches of “Altars of Secrets,” a controversial publication that delved into the transgressions committed by Roman Catholic bishops and priests in the Philippines.

In the first instance, he tossed the book beside the rostrum. It was picked by his aide. The onlookers’ reaction was mixed with cheers and laughter.

“Whoever wants to pick it up,” he said before flinging it twice to the lower part of the stage and was picked up by the same aide.

In many of his talks, Duterte was known to verbally attack the Catholic church by recalling his own experience being abused by a priest when he was young and telling his audience the various wrongdoings of church officials in the Philippines and elsewhere.

“There is a worldwide investigation of abuses against children and this is why nuns are protesting in Vatican. Was I lying? That’s what I have been telling you. I am just being frank. When you give me a problem, I will really retaliate,” he said in his speech at USTP.

“They said I was the one who gave the order to kill bishops and priests. Yes, that’s true. That’s because they started it.

“You Catholics, the priest, all I want is to tell the people about me and the truth,” he added.

In his speech, he also endorsed the official PDP-Laban senatorial candidates, the team of “MaBaGoKoTo,” referring to Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, former Special Assistant to President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Sen. Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III, and former political adviser Francis Tolentino.

Other candidates who were present were Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Sen. JV Ejercito, Rafael Alunan.

Duterte was welcomed by Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, who is also a member of the PDP-Laban.

Moreno was accused by his political opponent as “the most anti-Duterte mayor in the Philippines.”

In an interview after the rally, Moreno said the presence of the President would disprove that accusation.

“It speaks for itself,” the mayor said, in reference to Duterte’s presence, adding that he was happy the city hosted the PDP-Laban sortie.(

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