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Filipino bishops to discuss bribery charges

Catholic World News - July 04, 2011

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have agreed that during their meeting in Manila this week, they will discuss charges that some bishops received favors from the government’s Charity Sweepstakes Office under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Last week the former president of the Filipino bishops’ conference, Archbishop Oscar Cruz, the retired head of the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese, said that the conference should discuss the reports that some prelates had accepted luxury vehicles and cash gifts from the sweepstakes office. The current president of the episcopal conference, Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, has said that the question will be at the top of the agenda for this week’s meeting.

Meanwhile one bishop who acknowledges that he did receive money from the sweepstakes office says that the gift was entirely appropriate. “It was an honest-to-goodness assistance,” said Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian of Bangued, explaining that the government office had made legitimate charitable donations to the work of the diocese.

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