Philippine Catholic bishops attend the World Apostolic Congress in Manila in January. The bishops are set to elect a new conference president to replace Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines is set to elect a new president this week as the country's church leaders hold a three-day plenary assembly in Manila.
The new leader of the collegial body will succeed Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan whose term of office ends on Nov. 30, 2017.
By tradition, the conference's vice president is usually elected president, but Archbishop Villegas said "everybody is a candidate."
Bishops who have been president of the conference for two terms and retired prelates cannot be elected.
The president and vice president of the conference can serve two two-year terms.
The plenary assembly of the bishops meets in regular session twice a year in January and in July. When the assembly is not in session, a permanent council acts for the conference.