LINGAYEN-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas was reelected as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) during the group’s biannual plenary assembly on Sunday in Manila.
It will be his second and last term as leader of the 131-member group.
Eighty-two of the 95 active bishops who attended the assembly voted for Villegas.
Also reelected was Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles as vice president, Palo Archbishop John Du, treasurer, and Fr. Marvin Mejia as secretary general.
The bishops also elected three new members for the CBCP Permanent Council and reelected seven others. They are Bishops Ruperto Satos of Balanga (Bataan), Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus (Cavite) and Narciso Abellana of Romblon.
The Permanent Council is composed of a chairman, vice chairman and 10 regional representatives–five for Luzon, two for Visayas and three for Mindanao.
The regional representatives for Luzon are Bishops Rodolfo Beltran of San Fernando, La Union, Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Gilbert Garcera of Daet (Camarines Sur), Bernardino Cortez of Infanta (Quezon) and Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus.
For Visayas, the representatives are Bishops Crispin Varquez of Borongan (Northern Samar) and Narciso Abellana of Romblon.
The representatives for Mindanao include Bishops Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay (Bukidnon) and Angelito Lampon of Jolo Sulu).
The president of the CBCP serves for a term of two years and is limited to only two consecutive terms. The members of the Permanent Council, on the other hand, have a term of two years but are allowed a cumulative number of up to four terms. They, however, may not, serve for more than two consecutive terms.
They will serve the conference from December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2017.
The members of the CBCP convene twice a year–in January and July.
When the Plenary Assembly is not in session, it is the Permanent Council that acts for and in behalf of the entire CBCP. The Permanent Council’s regular functions include ensuring that the decisions made during plenary assembly are properly executed and directing the activities of the office and other agencies of the conference.
A crucial function of the Permanent Council is to prepare joint statements or pastoral letters of the hierarchy on subject matters decided on by the plenary assembly.