Quantcast
Latest Stories

Bishop Soc Villegas heads CBCP

Villegas to pursue fight against RH law

By , , Leila B. Salaverria

The protégé of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates “Soc” Villegas, was elected president of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday amid a continuing conflict between the Church and the Aquino administration on the controversial reproductive health (RH) law.

At 52, Villegas will lead the 96 active and 40 honorary members of the bishops’ collegial body when Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma ends his term on Dec. 1. To succeed Villegas as vice president is Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.

While Villegas is known to have had strong ties with the late President Corazon Aquino, the mother of the incumbent Chief Executive, he is perceived as one who will not give in to the whims of the current administration.

“One thing is certain, the archbishop will talk as needed. He will not keep quiet,” Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz told the Inquirer over the phone on Sunday.

“This man is intelligent and courageous. He will exercise his [pastoral duties] and will put into action his qualifications.” Cruz said.

Cruz cited a pronouncement that Villegas made amid the debate on the RH bill last year, which he noted “had angered the Palace.”

“My dear youth, contraception is corruption. The use of government money, taxpayers’ money to give out contraceptive pills is corruption. Contraceptive pills teach us it is all right to have sex with someone provided you are safe from babies,” Villegas said then.

Villegas’ statement denouncing President Aquino for supporting the RH measure was proof that he would continue to lead the Church in fighting other measures that would compromise Catholic values, Cruz said.

“This means that he will speak when needed. He will speak his mind according to Church teachings,” he said. “I know what I am talking about because when he was appointed the secretary of Cardinal Sin, we were already [working] together.”

Cruz, likewise a former CBCP president and ex-archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, said he had seen how Villegas worked and he was confident that the prelate would do a great job.

Ball in Palace court

Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, also has the same expectations of Villegas.

“He will surely stand by the Church teachings no matter what,” he said in a text message to the Inquirer. “I suppose the ball is in the Palace’s court since Archbishop Socrates was close to the late President Cory Aquino.”

But he added that the Church was always open to listen and dialogue to try to understand if certain issues were truly for the common good.

The CBCP announced the results of the election on the second day of its three-day annual plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila.

Palma was still eligible for another two-year term as the head of the Church body but prior to the assembly, he declared his intention of giving up his post so that he could attend to his pastoral duties in the Cebu archdiocese, which would host the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016.

Villegas, who was ordained priest by Sin in 1985 and auxiliary bishop of Manila in 2001, will have a two-year tenure. Valles will also serve for two years. But by tradition, incumbent officials may be reelected to a second term.

The assembly also elected Sunday Fr. Marvin Mejia as secretary general, succeeding Msgr. Joselito Asis.

Election welcomed

 

“We extend our congratulations to Archbishop Villegas and wish him well as he faces new challenges as president of the CBCP,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

Valte said the Palace looked forward to “future engagements under his leadership.”

The election of Villegas came two days before the Supreme Court opens oral arguments on petitions seeking to nullify the controversial Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act.

The 12 petitions against the law included one filed by the son of CBCP legal counsel Jo Aurea Imbong. Ranged against them are six petitions backing the law, filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Sen. Pia Cayetano and three former health secretaries, among others.

RA 10354, which mandates the state to provide the poor with reproductive health services, including access to contraceptives, and sex education to schoolchildren, was signed by President Aquino on Dec. 21 last year.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines , Catholic Church , CBCP , Philippines , RH law , Socrates “Soc” Villegas




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement