Villegas is new CBCP president
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan Villegas is the new president of Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines

File photo from EPA/Nat Garcia 


MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) named a protégé of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin as new president.

The CBCP announced on Sunday, July 7, that Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan Villegas would succeed Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who did not seek a second term. Villegas will lead the 96 active and 40 honorary members of the bishops’ collegial body.

Villegas was ordained priest by Sin in 1995 and in 2001, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Manila.

He was named bishop of Balanga diocese in 2004, and archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in 2009.

Aside from Villegas, taking on a new post is Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who was elected vice president of CBCP in a meeting held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila on Sunday.

The 61-year-old Valles was ordained priest in 1976, and appointed as bishop of Kidapawan in 1997. Valles served as archbishop of Zamboanga from 2006 to 2012, then he was transferred to the Davao archdiocese.

The assembly also elected Fr. Marvin Mejia, then assistant secretary general, as secretary general succeeding Msgr. Joselito Asis, who will now return to the diocese of Daet.

According to the CBCP, officials have a two-year tenure in office or a total of 4 years to include the second term. Traditionally, incumbent officials are reelected for their second and last term. 

Palma reportedly yielded his CBCP post so he could give more attention to the Cebu archdiocese, which will host the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016. 

Villegas and Valles will assume their new posts on December 1, 2013. –

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