Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles was elected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines last July 8, succeeding Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who had served the organization for four years.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, lauded Valles’ election and considered it an “advantage” for the Catholic Church.
“The bishops made the right decisions. The [CBCP] President down to the regional representatives make for excellent officers. They will represent the Church at a time when it is being criticized left and right,” Secillano said in an email to the Varsitarian.
Prior to his election, Valles was CBCP vice president for four years. He also served as chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Liturgy and member of the CBCP Permanent Committee on the Cultural Heritage of the Church.
Valles, who hails from Maribojoc, Bohol, was previously bishop of Kidapawan and Zamboanga. He is known to have close ties with President Rodrigo Duterte.
“To say that [Valles’] closeness with President Duterte will compromise the Church is to underestimate the leadership qualities of the good bishop. The CBCP members did not elect a man without conviction,” Secillano said.
Valles earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology from the St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary of Davao in 1972 and 1976, respectively.
He obtained his licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontificio Ateneo Sant’ Anselmo in Rome in 1990 and his master’s degree in religious education from the Ateneo de Davao in 1997.
Valles will assume office in December this year with Caloocan Archbishop Pablo Virgilio David as vice-president, Fr. Marvin Mejia as secretary general, and Palo Archbishop John Du as treasurer.