MANILA, July 12, 2011?One of the outspoken bishops who denounced the Marcos dictatorship at the height of Martial Law has passed away.
Ilagan Bishop Emeritus Miguel Gatan Purugganan died on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at the age of 80.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines paid tribute to the late prelate for his contributions during the height of Martial Law in the country.
“Bishop Purugganan stood up bravely as one of the magnificent seven Catholic bishops who denounced martial law and the Marcos dictatorship from the very start,” the NDFP statement posted on their website said.
The bishop, added the NDFP, “courageously set up the nationwide Basic Christian Communities – Community Organizing, which organized and mobilized the oppressed and exploited masses to stand up for their rights and collectively advance their interests and fight for the fundamental national and democratic aspirations of the people.”
Purugganan became the second bishop of Ilagan when Bishop Francisco Raval Cruces was appointed Archbishop of Zamboanga. He served the diocese from 1974 to 1999.
He sat as chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and was a member of the CBCP Permanent Council.
He was also a member of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, national president of the Basic Christian Communities and consultant of the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries.
Purugganan was born on November 19, 1931 in Cabagan, Isabela and was ordained to the priesthood at age 25 on March 3, 1957.
He was vice chancellor and prefect of discipline of San Jose Seminary and was secretary to Bishop Teodulfo Domingo during the Second Vatican Council in Rome.
As a priest, Purugganan was assigned as Assistant Pastor of St. Paul the Apostle parish, rector of San Jacinto Seminary and later on became vicar general of then Diocese of Tuguegarao.
He was chairman of the Our Lady of the Pillar College in Cayauan, St. Ferdinand College and Isabela Diocesan Schools System.
The prelateâ€™s remains lie in state at the St. Ferdinand Cathedral in Upi, Gamu, Isabela. The interment will take place on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 9:00 am. (Melo M. Acuna)