February 21, 2018, 1:19 pm
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Does a new prexy mean a friendlier (to Du30) CBCP?

A FRIEND of President Duterte will lead the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), so expect a change in tone and strategy when the Catholic Church responds to critical issues such as extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles will be CBCP president starting Dec. 1. The other CBCP officials will be replaced as well. They will serve until Nov. 30, 2019.

CBCP Public Affairs Committee Executive Secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano said it is likely that the CBCP would change its approach on EJKs as well as other alleged anti-life measures under the new leadership.

“What may change perhaps is the approach, tone, and strategy in tackling those issues,” said Secillano.

“We are hoping for a smooth relationship. President Duterte’s friendship with Archbishop Valles may play a part in it,” he added.

However, Secillano assured that the CBCP shall remain critical of various issues, especially those concerning the sanctity of life.

“We have to remember that a change in CBCP leadership doesn’t mean a change in stand on issues such as EJK, same-sex marriage, divorce, or death penalty,” he said.

Valles is succeeding Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Under Villegas’ leadership, the CBCP has been one of the most vocal critics of the Duterte administration’s bloody war against drugs, which resulted in thousands of EJK cases.

As a result, the bishops have repeatedly been at the receiving end of Duterte’s tirades, including one where he called the CBCP the “most hypocritical institution.”  – Gerard Naval
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