Philippines Report

Arroyo dines with 18 bishops ahead of Duterte, Valles meeting — Palace

Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dined with 18 Catholic bishops on Sunday night, a day before the scheduled meeting of President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, Malacañang said on Monday.

“Now I confirm that last night, I had dinner with around 18 bishops at the residence of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

Arroyo, Roque said, “always hosted this dinner to emphasize the need for a close relationship between the Church and the State.”


“It was a social dinner, although there were prayers said and there was, of course, a general consensus that the Church and State should work together in upholding the general welfare of the people,” he said.

The Palace official said one archbishop raised the rift between Duterte and the Church, “but there was no substantial discussion on it because everyone’s awaiting the meeting between Archbishop Valles and the President.”

Duterte had earned the ire of the Catholic Church and other religious groups after he ranted about a “stupid God” and questioned the creation story in the Bible.

The President and Valles are scheduled to meet in Malacañang this Monday afternoon amid the growing rift between the Chief Executive and the Church. (

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