THE Archdiocese of Cebu encouraged the Cebuano faithful to pray for the newly elected Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, whose responsibility is “huge” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Monsignor Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the Archdiocese is happy about David’s election to lead the CBCP as he called him “a good friend” of the Archdiocese.
Tan said the Archdiocese of Cebu collaborated with David during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu in 2016.
“Of course, we also would like everybody to pray because the position entails a huge responsibility especially during this time of pandemic when he has to be able to guide the direction of the pastoral programs of the CBCP to become more responsive to the pandemic situation in the country,” he said.
He said David’s election as CBCP president did not come as a surprise as he had been the vice president to his predecessor Archbishop Romulo Valles of the Archdiocese of Davao since December 2017.
Tan said it has been a tradition among the bishops that the vice president takes over after the expiration of the term of the president.
Tan said it is not a secret that David, in his past pronouncements as the Bishop of Caloocan, is “very critical” regarding the government’s war on drugs campaign because of issues associated with extrajudicial killings.
However, he said the Archdiocese of Cebu “would not want to presume” that David is not on good terms with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Tan said they do not see David’s pronouncements on the government’s anti-drug campaign as anti-government but as “an ethical reminder of the teachings of the Church regarding morals.”
Tan said any future pronouncement David will make as the president of the CBCP will have to be an official statement of all the bishops in the Philippines.
In 2018, David reacted to statements made by Duterte about a certain “Bishop David” whom the President alleged had been personally using the church’s funds.
David was quoted in a Nov. 24, 2018 article of SunStar Pampanga, titled “Bishop to Duterte: My parents never taught me to steal,” saying: “I am the only Bishop ‘David’ in the CBCP. I think he has confused me for someone else. You see, people who are sick sometimes do not know what they are talking about, so we should just bear with them. My parents never taught me to steal.”
Bishop David, 62, is set to succeed Valles on Dec. 1, 2021. (WBS)