Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos dies at 74

MANILA, Philippines – Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos died at the age of 74 on Saturday, October 21. 

The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, confirmed this in a text message to Rappler late Saturday evening.

Villegas said Pueblos died at 6:55 pm on Saturday. 

Pueblos was born in Moto Sur, Loon, Bohol, on March 8, 1943.

At the time of his death, he had been a bishop for 32 years and a priest for 49 years.

Pueblos was one of the bishops accused of requesting luxury vehicles from the Arroyo administration, which was part of the 2011 Senate probe into the alleged fund misuse at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

He reportedly requested a Montero sports utility vehicle as a birthday gift from then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2009. When the Senate investigated his request to Arroyo in 2011, Pueblos admitted a "lapse in judgment."

"Service to the public more than anything motivated me to seek assistance from the government in this regard with the intention of furthering the common good in my region. Unfortunately, my zeal in this line appears to be my shortcoming," the bishop said back then.

The 7 bishops who received luxury vehicles returned the vehicles, while the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a public apology over the incident.

The death of Pueblos came days after Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, 86, died on October 18. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of 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 him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.