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Archbishop gets car drive in gear

Fundraiser to replace vehicles returned by scandal-tarnished bishops nears target

Filipinos line up in Manila's Quiapo district to donate to a fund drive to buy vehicles for seven Catholic bishops. (Photo by Eddie Leanillo) Filipinos line up in Manila's Quiapo district to donate to a fund drive to buy vehicles for seven Catholic bishops. (Photo by Eddie Leanillo)
  • Lourdes Abelardo, Manila
  • Philippines
  • July 28, 2011
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The next head of the Catholic bishops' conference yesterday voiced support for a fund-raising drive to replace vehicles returned by seven bishops at the center of a government lottery office donation scandal.

The donations were considered unethical by many and the charity sweepstakes office and the bishops were accused of violating the Philippine Constitution.

The fund-raising drive is the brainchild of rights activist Romulo Macalintal of the Coalition for Life and former Manila mayor Lito Atienza.

But Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu clarified that his endorsement only applies to prelates in his archdiocese.

"I gave my endorsement for Cebu," Archbishop Palma said.

Atienza said he appealed to Catholics to support the fund-raising drive to show concern and sympathy to the bishops.

Atienza and Macalintal say they have raised 2.5 million pesos (US$59, 200) since their appeal was launched.

Television host Willie Revillame earlier donated two vehicles and a cash donation of 100,000 pesos (US$2,367), while boxing champ Manny Pacquiao also pledged 100,000 pesos.

With what we’ve raised so far "we only need funds for two more vehicles to accomplish our mission," Macalintal said.

The fund drive in the Archdiocese of Cebu will continue until July 31.
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