Following the retirement of Antipolo Bishop Francisco De Leon and the appointment of Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos to the Diocese of Antipolo, six dioceses and apostolic vicariates in the country are currently sede vacante or vacant.
The Vatican announced the transfer of Bishop Santos from the Diocese of Balanga to the Diocese of Antipolo on May 24 after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop De Leon who turned 75, the mandatory retirement age for bishops.
According to Church-run Radio Veritas, the Diocese of Alaminos has been vacant since October 2019 after Archbishop Ricardo Baccay was named archbishop of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. On November 2022, the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan in Mindoro was left vacant following the illness of Bishop Warlito Cajandig. Then, on March 3, Diocese of Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico was named as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Capiz making the Baguio diocese sede vacante.
The Diocese of Gumaca is also vacant with the passing of its shepherd Bishop Victor Ocampo on March 16, 2023. On April 25, the Diocese of Ipil was left vacant after Bishop Julius Tonel was appointed as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.
With the new assignment of Bishop Santos as the shepherd of the Diocese of Antipolo, the Diocese of Balanga is now sede vacante.
Radio Veritas said that aside from the six vacant dioceses and apostolic vicariates in the country, four Church leaders are set to reach or have already reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 this year including Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, Virac Bishop Manolo de los Santos, Cubap Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, and Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud.
RELATED TAGS: SIX VACANT DIOCESES