BY JOENALD MEDINA RAYOS
IT might be a different Christmas experience for the whole Christendom in the Philippines this year, as the New Year of the Catholic Church which officially begins at the Season of Advent will also mark the start of the term of the new Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines leaders.
The Filipino Catholic community will be under the new leadership with the election of the new set of officers led by Davao archbishop and incumbent CBCP vice president, His Excellency, Romulo Valles and will succeed Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, who finished his second and final term.
Valles, 66, was elected together with the other officers during the plenary assembly of the CBCP at the Pope Piux XII Center in Paco, Manila on Saturday, July 8, 2017.
He will be the 20th head of the 72-year old collegial body of bishops composed of 83 active, 5 diocesan administrators and 43 honorary members of the CBCP leading the 86 ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the Philippine archipelago.
CBCP officials have a two-year tenure in office, or a total of four to include the second term. If tradition is to be followed, incumbent officials are reelected for their second and last term.
The new CBCP head was ordained a priest in 1976 and was appointed as bishop of Kidapawan in North Cotabato in 1997. In 2006, he was named archbishop of Zamboanga until 2012 when he was transferred to Davao archdiocese, a post which he held until today.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalooan was also elected CBCP vice president. A known Bible scholar, Bishop David has been serving the Kalookan diocese only since January 2016 after 10 years of serving as auxiliary bishop of San Fernando in Pampanga.
The regional representatives for Luzon are Archbishop Marlo Peralta of Nueva Segovia, Bishops Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus, Victor Ocampo of Gumaca and Jose Rojas of Libanan.
For Visayas, the representatives are Archbishop Jose Advincula of Capiz and Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog.
Representatives for Mindanao include Archbishops Romulo dela Cruz of Zamboanga and Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz.
The assembly also reelected Palo Archbishop John Du as CBCP treasurer and Fr. Marvin Mejia as secretary general.
According to CBCP statues, the new officers will formally assume their posts on December 1, 2017.| With report from ROY LAGARDE/cbcpnews.com
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