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Palace congratulates new CBCP president

by Genalyn D. Kabiling

The Duterte administration is looking forward to having a more open dialogue and cooperation with the Catholic Church following the election of a new Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines leader.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella has extended the government’s wishes to Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles as the new CBCP president, saying his election would “augur well” for the country.

“The new Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines head from Davao signals a new day of peace for a multi-cultural Philippines,” Abella said.

“Our warm congratulations to Archbishop Valles as he leads the Catholic faithful in the country, towards developing a deeper spiritual life, and for the Church to have a more open dialogue and cooperation with the government, especially in working for the poor and the marginalized,” he added.

Valles takes over from Arcbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan and he will lead for the next two years. Valles, who turns 66 on July 10, previously served as CBCP vice president.

Abella noted that Valles served Mindanao as a Catholic priest for four decades and could help promote peace and development in the region.

“His familiarity with Davao and Mindanao would augur well for the country as we promote interfaith dialogue and intercultural understanding as part of our efforts to rebuild Marawi and to transform Mindanao into a land of fulfillment,” he said.

The President recently launched a profanity-laced tirade against the Catholic clergy for being “full of sh*t,” citing allegations of corruption, sexual abuse, and other controversies.

He was irritated that some bishops have criticized his drug crackdown instead of helping his government spread public awareness against getting hooked at illegal drugs.