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Filipino Catholics want Butuan Bishop out

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Cagayan de Oro City – A Catholic bishop who asked an expensive car from then President Gloria Arroyo as his birthday gift is now the subject of a petition by Christian devotees in the southern Philippines, reports said Thursday.

The Catholic-run Cathnews Philippines reported that members of the Knights of Columbus and officials of Class 1961 of Father Saturnino Urios University were asking the transfer of Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of the Diocese of Butuan City.

The report can be accessed on this URL: http://www.cathnewsphil.com/2011/07/28/catholics-seek-to-move-butuan-bishop.

It said the petitioners also planned a rally to dramatize their protest to the continued stay of Pueblos, but did not push through. Instead they would send a letter and a copy of the petition asking the Vatican and the new Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto to transfer Pueblos.

“There were plans to hold a mass protest rally for the transfer and ouster of Bishop Pueblos, but it was cut short because the Class ’61 leadership fear it cannot sustain many participants of the rally. And so, they decided to just write the papal nuncio of the Philippines and probably copy the Vatican requesting the transfer of Bishop Pueblos,” said Elmo Montilla, who is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

The Catholic news agency said Montilla belongs to influential clans of Butuan City, whose members include prominent politicians, businessmen and local government officials.

Pueblos was among many bishops and priests who were provided funds by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in 2009 for various health and medical programs for the poor. But most of those who received the funding used the money to buy vehicles which they claimed were used in community outreach missions.

Cathnews said that in 2009, Pueblos wrote Arroyo asking for a sport utility vehicle as his birthday gift which he will use in his community works and health projects under the so-called Caraga Conference for Peace and Development.

Pueblos used the money to purchase an expensive Mitsubishi Montero, but he and six other bishops were forced to return their vehicles after new PCSO officials discovered the donations made to the Church which is critical to the government’s gambling operations.

Cathnews said: “Attempts to get comments from Bishop Pueblos by phone and by a visit to his home in Ampayon village were unsuccessful.”

There were also reports that many Church leaders have invested hundreds of millions of pesos in various business and mining corporations in the Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)




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