Davao Archbishop Valles reelected as CBCP president

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reelected Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles as its president on Saturday, July 6.

Valles will serve his second and last term as CBCP president starting December 1 this year, up to November 30, 2021. Valles was first elected for the post in 2017.

Apart from the Davao archbishop, Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David was reelected as vice president, Palo Archbishop John Du as treasurer, and Father Marvin Mejia as secretary general.

The Catholic Church is the strongest voice against the bloody campaign of the Duterte administration against illegal drugs.

But President Rodrigo Duterte has been devoting a portion of his speeches to lambasting the Catholic Church and its leaders.

He has mocked its teachings and doctrines, calling the Holy Trinity "silly," blasting the Bible's creation story, dismissing saints as "gago" (fools) and "drunkards," and even calling Jesus Christ "unimpressive" because he got crucified.

Valles has been a Catholic priest in Mindanao for the past 4 decades. He enjoys warm ties with the President, his friend for years.

Valles himself said in June 2016 that "there's no conflict" between Duterte and the Catholic Church in Davao. The archbishop said he engages Duterte through a "friendly sharing of ideas" – and by thinking of himself as their long-time mayor's "friend-sinner."

In January this year, the CBCP issued a statement on the constant tirades by the President against priests – which by far was the first official response by the CBCP.

"We have silently noted these painful instances with deep sorrow and prayed over them. We have taken our cue from Pope Francis who tells us that in some instances, '…the best response is silence and prayer,'" CBCP said, without directly naming Duterte.

On Saturday, CBCP said that Valles "would make him (a) more visible face of the Church" as it prepares for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country in 2021. – Rappler.com