MANILA, Dec. 1, 2011— Archbishop of Cebu, Jose Palma officially assumed leadership of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Thursday.
Palma, a native of Dingle, Iloilo, becomes the 19th president of the bishops’ collegial body.
The official turnover ceremonies were heldcyesterday during the joint meeting of the outgoing and the incoming members of the CBCP Permanent Council at their headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
Prior to his election, Palma was CBCP vice president. He replaced Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar whose first term as head of the bishops’ leadership ended yesterday.
Elected as president only two years ago, Odchimar was entitled to a second term of two more years but he decided not to seek reelection to devote more pastoral attention to his diocese in Surigao del Sur.
CBCP officials normally hold two terms, each with a two-year tenure.
Also assuming post as new CBCP vice president is Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
The new members of the CBCP Permanent Council are: Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg, Bishops Pablo Virgilio David of San Fernando, Pampanga, Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, Francisco de Leon of Antipolo, Reynaldo Evangelista of Boac, Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran, Patricio Buzon of Kabankalan, Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao and Guillermo Afable of Digos.
Elected last July by the plenary assembly of the CBCP, the Council is chaired “ex officio” by Palma.
Dumaguete Bishop John Du, on the other hand, assumed the position of treasurer, replacing Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.
Cebuano priest Fr. Marvin Mejia also assumed today his post as assistant secretary general of the CBCP to assist Msgr. Joselito Asis, the conference’s new secretary general. [Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews]