Newly elected CBCP President asked: Prove independence from Archdiocese of Malacañang

Newly elected CBC President asked: Prove independence from Archdiocese of Malacañang

The chairperson of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday asked newly elected CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) President Tandag (Surigao del Sur) Bishop Nereo Odchimar to prove to the Roman Catholic community and the Filipino public in general that he is he is totally independent and free from the political gameplan and influence of the so-called “Archdiocese of Malacañang”.

“We welcome the election of Tandag Bishop Odchimar as the new president of the influential CBCP and we take note of his outstanding record of advocacy against mining and logging. What we want now is for him to heed to the call of the Filipino people and disassociate himself from the brutal, corrupt and criminal Archdiocese of Malacañang,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“The big challenge to incoming CBCP President is for him to prove his independence from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the ruling gangland in the Palace. We hope the good bishop of Tandag will live up to the challenge and score a giant kill against the Arroyo presidency in the name of truth, justice and accountability,” said Hicap.

“We are no putting Bishop Odchimar on the spot. We just want a clear score card here because some sections and sectors are casting doubts on him having been identified as highly supportive of President Arroyo along with Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos. He belongs to the pro-GMA bloc in the CBCP and that checkered past and present will always put him on the spot whether he likes or not,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

However, Pamalakaya said although Bishop Odchimar is identified with President Arroyo, such political reality will not stop them from seeking the newly elected CBCP’s support on various issues, particularly on logging and mining.

“They are many issues and advocacies we can work and cooperate particularly on anti-logging and anti-mining. But still, we are optimistic Bishop Odchimar will soon renege his friendship with GMA and make the CBCP more responsive to the collective interest and moral sentiment of the 90 million Filipinos against Ms Arroyo,” the group said.

The group said they will write the newly CBCP president and will ask his support on the fisherfolk opposition against rampant reclamation activities in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay and offshore mining activities in Central Visayas, which the group said are killing the fishing environment and the livelihood of poor fishermen.

Bishop Odchimar was overwhelmingly elected by the 86 dioceses nationwide and will succeed Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, who will step down on Dec.1 as CBCP President. At the height of calls for Ms Arroyo’s impeachment, the Tandag bishop was one the seven Mindanao bishops who met Ms Arroyo behind closed doors at the Almont Inland Resort in Butuan City. #

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