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New Manila archbishop opts to keep line open with Malacañang

New Manila archbishop opts to keep line open with Malacañang

By Roy Lagarde

March 31, 2021

Manila, Philippines

Protecting human rights will be a key mission for the Manila archdiocese’s new shepherd, but wants the opportunity to have an open line of communication with Malacañang.

Cardinal Jose Advincula made the comments in a recorded interview with one of his priests in Capiz that was released to the media on Wednesday.

The statement comes amid expectations that he will tackle human rights issues and will continue to be a voice for the poor.

“I foresee to maintain an open line of communication with Malacañang,” said Advincula, who just turned 69 March 30.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s time in office has so far been characterized by widespread extrajudicial killings and a climate of impunity, various organizations, including the United Nations, said.

A report released by the U.N. Human Rights Office in June 2020, noted what it described as “widespread and systematic killing of thousands of alleged drug suspects”.

It also cited the alleged killings of “numerous human rights defenders… over the past five years”.

When Advincula was named cardinal by Pope Francis in October last year, he stressed that protecting human rights must be at the heart of the Church’s mission.

“The Church has to see to it that the human dignity and the human rights of the people are respected,” he said.

The cardinal earlier led seven other bishops of Western Visayas in deploring the killing of nine indigenous peoples in the Dec. 30 police raids in Capiz and Iloilo provinces.

The pope on March 25 named Advincula the new archbishop of Manila, one of the country’s largest archdioceses with around 3 million Catholic population.

The archdiocese is considered as the primatial of the country, covering key cities in the capital region including Manila, Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong and San Juan.

Advincula admitted fear over his new mission as first-timer to be assigned in a highly-urbanized archdiocese.

“I know my inadequacies and I believe Manila is a very challenging archdiocese,” the cardinal added.

“I think that is just an initial fear but I continue trusting in the grace of God and in the help also of the people who would be around me,” he also said.

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