MANILA—Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Socrates Villegas is ready to hand over the leadership to his successor during their plenary assembly in July.
With this, he noted that he will be able to fully concentrate as the head of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.
“Certainly focus more attention on the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan because the work at the CBCP has taken so much of my time away from the archdiocese where I’m assigned and I’m eager to stay longer with our people in Pangasinan,” he said in a television interview recently.
Villegas added, “I’m eager to finish my term as CBCP president.”
He explained that he is no longer eligible to run for reelection since he already served two terms, the maximum given to lead the conference.
Asked on who are the potential candidates that likely to succeed his post, Villegas said that all active members are aspirants exempt for those who already served for two terms.
“Everybody is a candidate. Only those who have been president for two terms are disqualified so in our case Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and me. All the others are qualified to be president. The retired bishops cannot be president,” he said.
The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate added that election of new officials is simple.
“We don’t campaign. We don’t even talk. We are just given a ballot and we write and the meeting continues. We don’t even wait for it to be counted. We just ask the young bishops to do the counting on the side. Everybody is a candidate and our belief is the spirit inspires us to write the name of the bishop that he has chosen to be CBCP president,” Villegas said.
He first served as head of the CBCP from Dec. 1, 2013 to Nov. 30, 2015 while his second and final term started last Dec. 1, 2015 and will end on Nov. 30, 2017.