MANILA – Former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, Archbishop Oscar Cruz, died of multiple organ failure caused by “critical coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infection”, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the CBCP said Cruz died at 6:45 a.m. at the Cardinal Santos Hospital in San Juan City “due to a lingering illness”. He was 85 years old.
“Following health protocols, his mortal remains will be cremated immediately. The cremated remains will be brought to the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City,” Villegas said in a statement.
Villegas said the Catholic faithful may pay their respects to the late archbishop on Thursday from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Masses will be celebrated by the diocesan and religious clergy of Lingayen-Dagupan for the whole day on Thursday.
The funeral Mass will be held on Friday, at 9 o’clock in the morning at the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral.
His remains will be laid to rest at the Santuario de San Juan Evangelista right after the Mass.
“In adherence to prevailing health protocols, only the priests and bishops together with the Archbishop’s family will be in attendance at the funeral Mass as we encourage the Catholic faithful to follow the liturgical rites on social media live stream,” Villegas added.
Cruz served as archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan from 1991 until his retirement in 2009.
Cruz founded the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng in 2004.
He served as president of the CBCP from 1995 to 1999. (PNA)