MANILA — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) isconducting its own probe into the alleged Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund mess involving some prelates.

The probe is led by retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who is the head of CBCP’s committee on bishops’ concerns.

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“I’m in charge of the bishops that’s why I’m working on this,” he said in an interview at the sidelines of the 50th anniversary of the Mother Butler’s Guild held last July 11 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Asked about the progress of the investigation, the Cardinal said he has already talked to the bishops concerned, but that he is still gathering documents.

Vidal said he started doing the inquiry last July 9 after the controversy came out.

Meanwhile, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez said he is not aware of any investigation being conducted by CBCP. “I’m not aware of that,” he said.

The CBCP was also set to come out with a collective statement on the issue after its plenary assembly that opened last July 9.

“We have not discussed anything yet, so just wait for our statement,” CBCP President and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar said.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales issued the same appeal to the media. “Just wait for our statement,” he said. Aside from the alleged PCSO fund mess, the CBCP is also set to discuss the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

“Most probably we will be discussing that (topic) because that is the present burning issue, and we have to speak out on that,” Odchimar said.

PCSO officials had earlier accused some bishops of asking for and receiving donations, including luxury vehicles, from then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in exchange for political patronage. (Manila Bulletin)