CamSur priest ‘irreversibly’ suspended for seeking public office

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) — A Catholic priest gets permanently suspended from his clerical duties for seeking public office in Libmanan, Camarines Sur, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.

In a statement, Bishop Jose Rojas said Fr. Granwell Pitapit is running for mayor of the largest town in the province in 2022 elections, where Pitapit served under the diocese's social action ministry. The action clearly violates the church’s Code of Canon Law, Rojas noted.

Canon Law 285 states that “clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.”

“Such suspension is deemed irreversible, thus preventing him permanently from returning to the priestly ministry,” Rojas was quoted as saying in a circular dated Oct. 22 but was made public on Tuesday.

Pitapit’s departure from the priestly ministry means he no longer represents the diocese and the Church “in any way.” He is no longer involved in the social action programs of the diocese, but he shall still follow his other priestly vows like celibacy that “continue to bind him and can only be completely suppressed through the process of laicization,” Rojas added.

The CBCP said two other priests are also joining next year’s polls, namely Fr. Emmanuel Alparce of the Diocese of Sorsogon and Fr. Emerson Luego of the Diocese of Tagum.

Alparce is running for councilor of Bacacay, Albay, while Luego is eyeing the mayorship of Mabini, Davao de Oro. Both also headed their respective dioceses’ social action ministry.