Catholic bishops agree to return vehicles

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jul 13 2011 10:41 AM | Updated as of Jul 13 2011 09:56 PM

Bishops accused of impropriety in accepting vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office swear an oath to tell the truth before the start of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing.

MANILA, Philippines - Seven Catholic bishops who received Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds to buy service vehicles have agreed to return the vehicles to the PCSO.

In a statement read by Cotabato Archbishop  Orlando Quevedo before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the bishops said the vehicles were used for the charity programs of their respective dioceses.

"Regardless of whether the acquisition of vehicles are lawful or unlawful, constitutional or unconstitutional, we are returning the vehicles," the statement read.

He said the vehicles from the bishops in Mindanao will be turned over to a duly authorized PCSO representative while vehicles from those in Luzon were already outside the Senate building.

Among those who received vehicles from PCSO during the Arroyo administration are: Butuan City Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos (Mitsubishi Montero), Bontoc-Lagawe Bishop Rodolfo Beltran (Nissan Pathfinder), Abra Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian (Mitsubishi Strada), Cotabato Archbishop  Orlando Quevedo (Toyota Grandia Hi-Ace), Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad (Mitsubishi Strada), Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles (Toyota Grandia Hi-Ace); and Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto Salgado (Isuzu Crosswind).

Except for Salgado who is in the US, all the bishops who received vehicles from PCSO are present at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines earlier apologized to the public after 7 CBCP members received vehicles from PCSO during the Arroyo administration.