Judicial Council Decisions

Decision No. 1196

In Re: REVIEW OF A BISHOP’S DECISION OF LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES ANNUAL CONFERENCE CAVITE REGARDING THE LEGALITY OF THE VENUE, COMPOSITION, ACTIONS AND DECISIONS OF THE SESSION, INCLUDING THE ELECTION OF DELEGATES TO GENERAL AND CENTRAL CONFERENCES

DIGEST OF CASE

The Tagaytay Mission Camp site of the 2011 Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite was validly chosen and designated. All actions of said Annual Conference session are valid including the venue, composition, and decisions of the session, including the appointments and the election of delegates to General and Central Conference. Any purported Annual Conference actions taken outside of said Tagaytay Mission Camp session are null, void, and of no effect. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

During the 2011 session of the Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite, Bishop Daniel C. Arichea, Jr., received the following request for a bishop’s decision of law:
I would like to make a motion for a ruling of law from the presiding bishop with regards to this 3rd Regular Session of the Philippines Annual Conference – Cavite held at Tagaytay Mission Camp, Maglabe Drive, Asisan, Tagaytay City from March 16-18, 2011 vis-à-vis other parallel Annual Conference which may be held simultaneously within the bounds of Philippines Annual Conference – Cavite.

The bishop rendered his decision of law instanter. The relevant portion of the bishop’s ruling is set forth:
The only legitimate 2011 session of the Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite is that held at Tagaytay Mission Camp, Maglabe Drive, Asisan, Tagaytay City on March 16-18, 2011. The date and venue has been decided by the whole cabinet of the Manila Episcopal Area. All dates of the Annual Conference sessions are valid and binding on the whole Annual Conferences. And activities include the election of General and Central Conference delegates, appointments of District Superintendents and other church matters, ordination and commissioning, to mention a few.
In case there is any session of the PACC other than that held at Tagaytay Mission Camp, Tagaytay City, on March 16-18, such session is null and void, and any activities of such session is not binding on the Annual Conference and all its parts.


JURISDICTION

The Judicial Council has jurisdiction pursuant to
¶ 2609 of the 2008 Discipline.

ANALYSIS & RATIONALE

The bishop’s decision of law presents as a further unfortunate set of circumstances and series of events in the Philippines Central Conference centering upon the processing of complaints against and the status of a suspended bishop. By action of the Council of Bishops the assigned bishop was suspended from episcopal duties for the period January 20, 2011 through March 19, 2011. Bishop Daniel Arichea was assigned to fulfill all episcopal duties in the Manila Episcopal Area. The Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite was convened March 16-18, 2011 with Bishop Daniel Arichea presiding.
The lawful venue of the Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite was at Tagaytay Mission Camp, Maglabe Drive, Asisan, Tagaytay City, March 16-18, 2011. The Tagaytay Mission Camp site of the 2011 Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite was validly chosen and designated. Any purported Annual Conference actions taken outside of said Tagaytay Mission Camp session are null, void, and of no effect. No bishop other than Bishop Daniel Arichea had any authority to convene the Annual Conference. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed.

DECISION

The Tagaytay Mission Camp site of the 2011 Philippines Annual Conference - Cavite was validly chosen and designated. All actions of said Annual Conference session are valid including the venue, composition, and decisions of the session, including the appointments and the election of delegates to General and Central Conference. Any purported Annual Conference actions taken outside of said Tagaytay Mission Camp session are null, void, and of no effect. The bishop’s decision of law is affirmed.

Ruben T. Reyes recused himself and did not participate in the deliberation.

Friday, October 28, 2011.


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