Philippine bishops’ conference gets new president

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao (center) will assume the post of president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Dec. 1. (Photo by Roy Lagarde)

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao takes over as new chief with Kalookan prelate serving as vice president

UCAN News November 29, 2017

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao will assume the presidency of the country’s bishops’ conference on Dec. 1.

The 66-year-old Archbishop Valles, a close friend of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, has served as vice president of the conference since December 2013.

He succeeds Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, a vocal critic of Duterte’s anti-narcotics war that has resulted in the killing of thousands of suspected drug users and dealers.

There will be no formal handover ceremony as the new president begins his term of office, said Father Marvin Mejia, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference.

Archbishop Valles was elected president during the conference’s plenary assembly in July. He will be the 20th head of the 72-year old organization.

The prelate will lead 83 active bishops, five diocesan administrators, and 43 honorary members of the bishops’ conference from 86 ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

Ordained a priest in 1976, Archbishop Valles was appointed prelate of Kidapawan in 1997. In 2006, he was named archbishop of Zamboanga until 2012 when he was transferred to Davao.

Also starting his term in office on Dec. 1 is Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan who was elected the conference’s vice president.

Bishop David, a known Bible scholar, has been serving Kalookan Diocese since January this year. He was ordained a priest in March 1983 and appointed bishop of San Fernando in 2006.

Officials of the Philippine bishops’ conference have a two-year tenure in office, or a total of four if re-elected.

Other members of the conference’s Permanent Council who will assume their posts on Dec. 1 include Archbishop John Du of Palo as treasurer and Father Mejia as secretary-general.

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