Caloocan Bishop David formally assumes post as CBCP head

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, DD, bishop of the diocese of Caloocan. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Diocese of Caloocan, an outspoken critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, formally took over Wednesday as head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

David replaces Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao who finished his term as CBCP head.

David once earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte, who had accused him of having links with the illegal drug trade and also of pocketing Church funds.

The Caloocan bishop together with other clergymen was also earlier charged with sedition over the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that were supposedly made by Peter Joemel Advincula. The charges against them were later dismissed.

David said that even Pope Francis offered his prayers when he was under duress.

“I want you to know I am with you as you face trials in your ministry in your diocese. May the Lord keep within you the heart of the Good Shepherd. Courage!” David quoted the Pope as saying in 2019.

Meanwhile, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig also formally took over as CBCP vice president, while a new set of permanent council members for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao was also named.

The council’s members for Luzon are Archbishop Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao, Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos, Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, and Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa.

The regional representatives for Visayas are Bishop Jose Bantolo of Masbate, Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon of Talibon and Bishop Louie Galbines of Kabankalan.

Archbishop Jose Cabantan of Cagayan de Oro and Bishop Abel Apigo of Mati are representing Mindanao.

The new set of officers were elected during the CBCP’s plenary assembly last July.

The elected CBCP officials have a two-year term of office, but they could also serve another two years for a possible second term.

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/MUF

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