MANILA, Philippines—Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, one of the figures in the Philippine Church hierarchy known for openly voicing their opinions on various political issues.
The information was relayed to the media office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto.
The 72-year-old Iñiguez, who is chair of the CBCP Public Affairs Committee, resigned before the mandated retirement age of 75.
While no information was made available as to what could be the reason for his resignation, the Vatican stated that it was made under Canon 401, par. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
The provision states that a diocesan bishop who becomes “unsuited for duties due to illness or other grave reason is requested to tender his resignation from office.”
Iñiguez was the first bishop of Caloocan and had served the diocese since August 2003. A native of Cotabato City, he was ordained in 1963. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Malolos from 1985 to 1989 and as bishop of Iba, Zambales, from 1990 to 2003.
As an official of the CBCP, Iñiguez had been giving his voice to many social and political issues including the reproductive health law and land reform. He was also a steadfast advocate on environmental issues.
Aside from Iñiguez, San Pablo Bishop Leo Drona also resigned, which the Pope has also approved on Friday. Current Gumaca Bishop Buenaventura Famadico was appointed as Drona’s successor.
Drona, 71, was ordained a priest in December 1967 in Rome and was appointed bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, in July 1987. He served there until 2004 when he was transferred to San Pablo City.
As the new bishop of San Pablo, Famadico, who is a member of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, will serve more than two million Catholics in the diocese.