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Priest calls on bishop to stand down

One of the prelates embroiled in scandal is invited to take leave of absence

Sean Salvador and Lourdes Abelardo, Manila

July 7, 2011

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Catholic priest Robert Reyes today called on the bishop of Butuan diocese to take a leave of absence out of 'propriety'. The bishop, Juan de Dios Pueblos, had admitted asking for a sports utility vehicle as a "birthday gift" from former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. "He should set an example as to how a bishop should behave in the context of a scandal," said Father Reyes. Officials of the Charity Sweepstakes Office earlier revealed that some prelates asked for vehicles and financial aid from the Arroyo government. Father Reyes said the bishops should return the vehicles and the money they got to the government. "Restitution is important. We repair the damage, if there’s some damage done, and it will be good for the image of the Church. We all commit mistakes anyway," the priest said. The bishops, however, said the "donations" were used for social action and apostolic activities. Bishop Pueblos said he asked for "personal funds from the president," not from any government agency.

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