Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas held his last mass this Sunday, November 26 in his hometown, as the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). In his homily, the outgoing CBCP president urged the Filipino Catholics to be watchful of the actions of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration.
“Kapag dumarating ang tukso, huwag nating kalimutan ang mayroon tayong Diyos na mapagpatawad. Ganunpaman, maging mapagmasid din tayo sa mga kilos ng ating pamahalaan. Huwag tayong matakot na punahin kung may makita tayong pang-aabuso. At higit sa lahat, wag nating hayaang bumalik ang diktadorya.” Archbishop Villegas said.
(When temptation comes, let us not forget that he have a forgiving God. Nevertheless, we should be watchful of our government. Do not be afraid to condemn them if you see they are doing wrong. But most importantly, let us not allow being under dictatorship again.)
Villegas, who will be replaced by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles as the new CBCP president this coming Friday, December 1, also thanked the Catholics for supporting his leadership in CBCP. He has been holding the post since 2013, replacing Oscar Cruz, and is known for his stances on political issues and being critical against President Duterte.
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Two days before the 31st anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power last February, Villegas wrote a letter to the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, saying that the country is experiencing nightmares under the Duterte administration. As a response, President Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte called him as worse than a hundred of her father.”
On the other hand, Archbishop Valles is known to be a friend of the presidential family particularly during the time when President Duterte was still the mayor of Davao City. In fact, he led the opening prayer at Duterte’s inauguration on June 30, 2016, and baptized the president’s newest grandson, Stonefish Duterte Carpio in Davao City last March.
Contributed by Salvi Dalida