Catholic Church

Bishop David, defender of drug war victims, reelected CBCP president

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Bishop David, defender of drug war victims, reelected CBCP president

SHEPHERD. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president Pablo Virgilio David delivers the homily during the 'Solidarity Mass for the Moral Choice' at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Parañaque City on April 6, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, 64, will serve his second and final term as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, a politically outspoken prelate known for defending drug war victims, was reelected president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Saturday, July 8. 

David, 64, will serve his second and final term as CBCP president. The CBCP traditionally reelects its president and vice president for a second term. 

Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, 60, was also reelected CBCP vice president.

David and Vergara were first elected president and vice president, respectively, in 2021.

Bishops reelected David and Vergara during the CBCP’s 126th plenary assembly that began on Saturday in Kalibo, Aklan, one of the rare times it is being held outside Metro Manila. The CBCP plenary, the highest decision-making body of the conference, gathers around 80 bishops and runs until Monday, July 10.

David is one of the Philippines’ leading biblical scholars, holding a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He has been a priest since 1983 and a bishop since 2006.

He is a product of San Jose Seminary, a Jesuit-run institution that has produced at least three Filipino cardinals, including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

David has been the bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan since January 2016. 

During the Duterte presidency, David’s diocese was a hotspot of drug-related killings, prompting him to speak out against police abuses. The first high-profile case in his diocese was the killing of a 17-year-old boy, Kian Lloyd delos Santos, in 2017. David condemned Delos Santos’ death and protected witnesses.

CBCP rejects lies about Marcos dictatorship ahead of 2022 polls

CBCP rejects lies about Marcos dictatorship ahead of 2022 polls

Before the 2022 elections, David led the CBCP in rejecting “radical distortions” about the dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos. He also blessed a local lay group’s endorsement of opposition presidential bet Leni Robredo, who eventually lost to the dictator’s son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com