BISHOP Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan, an outspoken prelate on various sociopolitical issues, was reelected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), giving him a second term lasting until 2025.

The election took place at the CBCP’s 126th Plenary Assembly at Marzon Hotel in Kalibo, Aklan, on Saturday, July 8.

Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara won a second term as CBCP vice president.

Both prelates will serve their last term from December 2023 to November 2025 because they are only eligible for two two-year terms with one reelection. They have been at the helm since Dec. 1, 2021. 

In July 2020, David was named acting president during the absence of then-president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who was recovering from a mild stroke.

David served as CBCP vice president from 2017 to 2021.

The Caloocan bishop had been caught in the crosshairs of former president Rodrigo Duterte for criticizing the drug war. At one point, the tough-talking Duterte called David a “son of a b***h” for supposedly attacking him behind the pulpit. 

During the 2022 national elections, David urged Catholics to uphold the truth amid a “pandemic of lies” brought about by the prevalence of fake news. 

The prelate also encouraged the faithful in a pastoral letter to attend in-person Masses as the government lifted much of the Covid-19 restrictions and asked bishops to evaluate the number of livestreamed Masses so as not to ruin the “personal and intimate encounter with the incarnate God.”

David, one of the country’s leading biblical experts, has been bishop of the Diocese of Caloocan since 2016. He studied at the Dominican-run École Biblique et Archéologique Française (French School of Biblical and Archeological Research) in Jerusalem.

Vergara obtained his doctorate in sacred theology, summa cum laude, from UST in 2001.

The plenary assembly will run until Monday, July 10. One of the expected agenda items is the liturgical gesture during the singing of the Lord’s Prayer in Masses.

The CBCP is composed of more than 80 active bishops and 30 retired prelates.


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