Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, one of the figures in the Philippine Church hierarchy known for openly voicing their opinions on various political issues.
The information was relayed to the media office of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday by the Apostolic
Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto.
The 72-year-old Iñiguez, who is chair of the CBCP Public Affairs Committee, resigned before the mandated retirement age of 75.
While no information was made available as to what could be the
reason for his resignation, the Vatican stated that it was made under
Canon 401, par. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
The provision states that a diocesan bishop who becomes “unsuited
for duties due to illness or other grave reason is requested to tender
his resignation from office.”
Iñiguez was the first bishop of Caloocan and had served the
diocese since August 2003. A native of Cotabato City, he was ordained in
1963. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Malolos from 1985 to 1989 and as
bishop of Iba, Zambales, from 1990 to 2003.
As an official of the CBCP, Iñiguez had been giving his voice to
many social and political issues including the reproductive health law
and land reform. He was also a steadfast advocate on environmental
Aside from Iñiguez, San Pablo Bishop Leo Drona also resigned,
which the Pope has also approved on Friday. Current Gumaca Bishop
Buenaventura Famadico was appointed as Drona’s successor.
Drona, 71, was ordained a priest in December 1967 in Rome and was
appointed bishop of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, in July 1987. He served
there until 2004 when he was transferred to San Pablo City.
As the new bishop of San Pablo, Famadico, who is a member of the
CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, will serve more than two
million Catholics in the diocese.