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New Philippine bishops’ president viewed as more open to dialogue with government

July 19, 2017

The Philippine bishops have elected Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao to a two-year term as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Archbishop Valles, who assumes the position on December 1, is currently the conference’s vice president. He succeeds Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Archbishop Valles, according to a Vatican Radio report, is a close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte, the nation’s leader since June 2016. Archbishop Villegas, the current conference president, has strongly criticized the the Duterte administration’s support of the extrajudicial murders of drug traffickers.

A spokesman for Duterte—a former Davao mayor who has alleged he was sexually abused by a Jesuit priest as a teenager—welcomed the election of Archbishop Valles, stating that the administration hoped the bishops would “have a more open dialogue and cooperation with the government.”

 
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