Duterte critic as Philippines Bishops Conference president

bishops elect Duterte critic

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan, an outspoken critic of President Duterte, has been elected as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

David, 62, has served as the conference’s vice president for the last four years. He will begin the two-year term as head of the conference on December 1.

The bishop is well known as a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. In 2017, he likened the thousands of victims to “slaughtered sheep.”

Ucanews.com reported the bishop was also among several priests accused of sedition after videos surfaced online accusing Duterte’s family of being involved in illegal drug operations.

In return, David received the ire of President Duterte in 2019: “You know if you are a priest and you want to attack me. Listen, you son of a whore, get out of your pulpit.

“Don’t use religion.

“Come here. In the church, you attack me.

“When I fight back, this will be hit.”

As a young man, David attended Jesuit-run San Jose Seminary and Ateneo de Manila University. He studied theology with former Manila archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, now prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

David was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of San Fernando in 1983 where he was appointed as the auxiliary bishop for 14 years until he was transferred to the Caloocan diocese in January 2016.

He previously chaired the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate of CBCP, and was also among the five Filipino bishop delegates to the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Vatican in 2008.

David also holds a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.


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