CBCP head: Visiting Arroyo up to bishops’ ‘prudent judgment’

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MANILA, Jan. 26, 2014— The head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership said that bishops are not prohibited to visit embattled and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the hospital.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president, said the bishops have a right to visit Arroyo like what some of their confreres already did.

“They are there in their individual capacities as bishops. It is left to their prudent judgment,” Villegas said.

On Sunday, retired Tuguegarao Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan, Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena, Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, Lucena Bishop Emilio Marquez and Nueva Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona visited Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on a plunder charge.

The five prelates held Mass for the ailing former president and now Pampanga representative, who has been detained in the hospital since December 2011.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a known critic of Arroyo, also sees nothing wrong with bishops visiting and holding Mass for the ailing lawmaker.

“Those are their own personal decisions. We have our own options,” said Cruz who also visited Arroyo last January 4 and gave her rosary.

Asked why bishops are now paying Arroyo a visit, Cruz said it could be because of the need to join calls for a more humanitarian treatment for the former president.

It is notable that more critics of Arroyo like former President Joseph and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Jesus Is Lord Movement head Bro. Eddie Villanueva also visited her at her detention room. (CBCPNews)

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