Davao archbishop is new CBCP president
Davao has just contributed another president to the country, a development that could mean better relations between the Church and the current administration.
Aside from former Davao City Mayor, now President Rodrigo Duterte, another luminary from Davao is its archbishop, Romulo Valles, who has been elected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Saturday during the body’s second plenary assembly for this year.
The CBCP is a grouping of Filipino bishops who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions over the Catholic faithful in their territory.
Also elected with Valles, who was the CBCP vice president, were Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David as CBCP vice president, and Palo Archbishop John Du as treasurer.
Fr. Marvin Mejia was reelected CBCP secretary general, with Fr. Bernardo Pantin as assistant secretary general.
The election of a CBCP president from Mindanao is seen to have a positive effect on the Catholic Church’s strained relations with President Duterte, who is friends with Valles.
Mr. Duterte has repeatedly attacked members of the clergy, accusing them of hypocrisy, corruption and sexual abuses.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has expressed its objections to the spate of extrajudicial killings amid the government’s war against illegal drugs.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP public affairs committee, said Valles’ election was an excellent choice.
“He is very approachable, simple in his lifestyle, an excellent pastor, very natural and down to earth,’’ Secillano said.
“Valles’ leadership mettle will be tested though, as the Church continues its prophetic role at a time when the public seems to believe more (in) the very popular President of our country, whose pronouncements usually run counter to traditional Church teachings,’’ Secillano added.
Valles will turn 66 on July 10 and has served as Davao archbishop since May 2012, when Mr. Duterte was still the city mayor.
The prelate succeeds outgoing CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who has finished his second and final two-year term.
Valles, who served as CBCP vice president for two terms since December 2013, was born in Maribojoc, Bohol. Before he was appointed Davao archbishop, he also served as Kidapawan bishop in 1997 and archbishop of Zamboanga in 2006.
Also elected as CBCP regional representatives for Luzon during Saturday’s plenary at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center were Nueva Segovia Archbishop Marlo Peralta, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, Imus Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista, Gumaca Bishop Victor Ocampo and Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas.
Elected regional representatives for the Visayas were Capiz Archbishop Jose Advincula and Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez.
For Mindanao, the regional representatives elected were Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad and Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo dela Cruz.
Founded in 1945, the CBCP aims to promote the spirit of solidarity in the Philippine Church and to assume responsibilities as evangelizer among the Catholic faithful.
To date, it has 131 members distributed to 35 commissions, committees and offices that cover five departments: doctrine and religious affairs; lay formation; social services and communications; external affairs, and clergy formation. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH
(Sources: cbcpwebsite.com and cbcpnews.net)