Lagdameo denies cutthroat race in CBCP voting

(Update on the Bishops to elect new CBCP head, a repost from CPCPNews)

MANILA, July 10, 2009—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) brushed off reports that the selection of its new set of officers is becoming a cutthroat competition.

CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said the organization’s election is far distinct from that in the political arena.

“We don’t even talk about that (election). When it comes, it comes and then everybody starts thinking on its own,” he said.

“In fact many of the bishops if they can avoid they will avoid it,” added Lagdameo.

The outgoing CBCP chief was reacting to reports that MalacaƱang, that has been openly courting for church’s support, is trying to influence the bishops’ choice of their next leaders.

The bishops are set to elect its new set of officers during their bi-annual plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XVI Catholic Center in Manila this weekend.

Although the election will take place this July, the elected officers will still assume their posts on December 1, 2009.

The CBCP is composed of 130 prelates, 32 of them are retired. Only those who are active in service, however, are allowed to vote.

“I’m looking forward to it because we will be electing a new set of officers. That will be my liberation,” Lagdameo said.

Under his term, the CBCP was vocal on social issues such as gambling, mining, extrajudicial killings, and more recently, Charter change, among others.

Lagdameo also became controversial when he issued his strongest criticism against the Arroyo administration—denouncing the “moral bankruptcy” in government and of government leaders.

The archbishop was also criticized, especially by Arroyo government sympathizers, for mixing church and politics.

Asked who among the bishops would likely take his post, Lagdameo said, he doesn’t have any idea since they really “don’t talk about it”.

The Jaro prelate, however, is convinced that whoever will be his successor will take on a big responsibility in view of the upcoming May 2010 elections.

“In the past since 1945, we’ve already issued so many pastoral exhortations when it comes to the election and we don’t even know whether they are being followed. Probably in many aspects they are not being followed at all,” said Lagdameo.

When asked what kind of legacy he wants to leave behind, the Jaro prelate said, this is not something that is important to him.

“Even if I don’t leave a legacy by the very fact that I have tried to fulfill my functions and correspond to the many demands, I think, I’m happy already,” he said.

“I’m very grateful for having been given a chance (to serve),” Lagdameo also said. (Roy Lagarde)

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