Catholics are seeking the removal of their bishop for accepting a sport utility vehicle as a birthday gift from the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Members of the Knights of Columbus and officials of Class ’61 of Father Saturnino Urios University say they will petition the Vatican for the transfer of Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos
of Butuan. Local writer and trader Elmo Montilla, a Knights of Columbus member, said this morning that the organization plans to write to the Vatican and the new Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto requesting the transfer. “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,” Montilla told local radio station DXBC in a live interview. “And so, they decided to just write the papal nuncio of the Philippines and probably copy the Vatican requesting the transfer of Bishop Pueblos,” Montilla said. Montilla belongs to the influential Montilla-Calo clans of Butuan City, whose members include prominent politicians, businessmen and local city officials. In 2009, Bishop Pueblos wrote to then president Macapagal-Arroyo asking for a gift of an SUV as a birthday gift to be used in his community works and health projects under his group Caraga Conference for Peace and Development. He was forced to return the vehicle after the new leadership of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office exposed the “unethical” donations of SUVs and money to seven Catholic bishops, including Pueblos. Attempts by ucanews.com to get comments from Bishop Pueblos by phone and by a visit to his home in Ampayon village were unsuccessful. Bishop Pueblos still heads the Diocese of Butuan, according to security personnel posted at the gate of his home.