Duterte says sorry to ‘all-forgiving’ God

Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is "sorry" for calling God stupid, which has triggered public outrage in the predominantly Catholic country.

But the 73-year-old leader stressed that he was only apologising to his "all-forgiving" God and nobody else.

"If it's the same God, I'm sorry," he said in a meeting with religious leaders on Tuesday night.

"Sorry, God".

"I only apologise to God, nobody else," he added.

"If I wronged God, then he would be happy to listen to my apology. Why? My God is all-forgiving. Why? He does not remember past hurts. Why? Because God created me to be good, not to be bad".

In the video of the meeting released yesterday, Duterte also said that critics should not use religion or the name of God to attack his administration.

"Never ever use the name of God as a front to attack government because that is not proper," he said.

"There is a separation of church and state".

Duterte called God stupid on June 22 when he questioned the logic behind the Biblical creation story of Adam and Eve.

He later said he would resign if anyone can prove to him that God exists.

Duterte has in the past lambasted the Catholic Church in the Philippines, where more than 80% of the population practices the religion.

He has called priests out for allegations of corruption and sexual abuse, which he has alleged he was a victim of when he was a school pupil in Davao City. — DPA