Bishop Virgilio David, CBCP President, speaks at the opening of the 126th CBCP plenary assembly at the Marzon Hotel in Kalibo, Aklan on July 8, 2023. CBCP NEWS

By Roy Lagarde

July 8, 2023

Kalibo, Aklan

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of the Diocese of Kalookan was reelected to head the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The 64-year-old prelate was chosen for the position on the first day of the CBCP’s 126th plenary assembly on Saturday at the Marzon Hotel in Aklan province’s Kalibo town.

Around 80 bishops are currently gathered for the three-day assembly– the highest decision-making body of the CBCP.

David will be taking the role for a second, and last term of another two years.

Also reelected was Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, 60, of the Diocese of Pasig as vice president of the episcopal conference.

The two were first elected to the posts in July 2021, while the whole world was grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to the health crisis at that time, their election took place during an online plenary assembly, the first in CBCP’s history.

In one of his pastoral letters as CBCP head, David called on Catholics to stand for truth, amid what he called “pandemic of lies”, especially on social media.

In a recent statement, he also appealed for “a more serious action” against the climate crisis, and for church institutions “to be one in declaring a state of emergency”.

The CBCP is currently composed of 87 active bishops, three diocesan administrators, and 43 honorary members, who are retired bishops.

Decisions ranging from election of CBCP officers to matters of pastoral statements and revision of liturgical rites require either a simple majority, or a vote of two-thirds of the member bishops to be approved as provided by their Statutes.

Active bishops are eligible to vote on particular items. Retired bishops are welcome to attend the assemblies and participate in discussion, but they are not eligible to vote.

Between the January and July plenary assemblies, the deliberations and decisions of the Conference are undertaken by its Permanent Council.


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