TV host Kim Atienza, popularly known as “Kuya Kim,” encouraged his fans online to be more considerate and pray for the well-being of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Atienza’s message, however, did not sit well among some Filipinos who reminded the former of Duterte’s previous string of absences amid rising coronavirus infections and tensions in the West Philippine Sea row.
The veteran host expressed this hope for the current administration in a Facebook post on Tuesday, April 13.
“Regardless of how we feel about President Duterte and his administration, we must continue to pray for his well-being. To wish him or anyone ill is not Christian,” Atienza said.
He also quoted the Bible verse from John 13:34, wherein:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. Jesus gave His life for me but I don’t deserve it. We are to do the same for others, much more our leaders that we are to honor.”
Speculations about Duterte’s health condition dominated social media after Duterte postponed his regular national addresses twice last week.
It was later reported that several members of the Presidential Security Group contracted COVID-19.
To quell rumors about the president’s health, his former aide-turned-lawmaker shared photos and a video of him doing different activities such as playing golf and jogging in Malacañang over the weekend.
How the public reacted
Some of Atienza’s fans agreed with him in the comments section.
One Facebook user said the public should pray for the current administration to make “good decisions” in the future.
“We may not like him, disagree with his styles and not happy with his actions, he is still human like us and Christians don’t do that. Let us pray for this administration, for all the officials of the government that God will give them good health and strength and wisdom and to make good decision for the nation,” a Facebook user said.
Some of those who agreed Atienza also pointed out that Duterte should live long enough to pay for his alleged crimes against his constituents.
“No one wants him to die! We want him in jail!” one user said.
“I want him to be safe and healthy, he is yet to be prosecuted, so please pray that he lives long enough to pay his dues,” another user wrote.
Some Twitter users also echoed this view. One Twitter user even referenced the term “unchristian” which was Harry Roque’s response to inquiries about his recent admission to the Philippine General Hospital.
“Even if I don’t like the President, I would never wish that he would die. That would be unchristian. It’s as unchristian as using your privilege and power to get a bed at PGH ahead of sick and dying Filipinos who waited days outside the hospital just to get in,” one user wrote.
Others, however, disagreed with Atienza and stressed that the president himself made death threats to other Filipinos in the past.
“Kim, there’s people that are dying,” one user said in reference to a popular remark from Kourtney Kardashian to her sister Kim.
“But your president says ‘mamatay ka na’ to VP Leni on national TV. I’m sorry but no,” another wrote.
One user reminded Atienza of the tragic ABS-CBN shutdown.
“Kuya Kim, yan yung tatay mo na di pinarenew prangkisa ng istasyon ng iyong weather news segment sa TV Patrol,” the user commented.