VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palace changes tune on Tagle’s Vatican appointment

Read this fact check in Filipino

After claiming that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle was kicked out as archbishop of Manila for “politicking,” Malacanang is now "thanking” him for the recognition his recent Vatican appointments has brought to the country.

In his May 4 briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque congratulated Tagle after he was “elevated” by Pope Francis to the order of cardinal-bishop, the highest rank within the College of Cardinals in the Vatican, saying:

Ang tagumpay niyo po, Your Eminence, ay tagumpay ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Maraming maraming salamat po sa karangalan at congratulations (Your success, Your Eminence, is the success of the Filipino people. Thank you very much for the honor, and congratulations).”

But in early March, before Roque was reinstated as his spokesperson, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tagle was removed from his former position in the archdiocese of Manila because he was “investigated” for “meddling in politics.” (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte touts false claim that Tagle was kicked out of Manila post)

Watch how the Palace changed its tune:

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palace changes tune on Tagle’s Vatican appointment from VERA Files on Vimeo.

Tagle’s designation, made public on May 1, means he is now one of 11 cardinal-bishops based in the Vatican who are “consulted by the Pope anytime individually or as a group” regarding “any question of the Church,” said a statement of the Pontifico Collegio Filippino, the home of Filipino priests in Rome. This is aside from three others who are assigned “patriarchs” in Eastern rites.

It is from the rank of cardinal-bishops that the Dean of the College of Cardinals is elected. In the event of the death or resignation of the Pope, the Dean “plays a key role” in governing the Vatican “while the See remains vacant,” according to Vatican News, the official publication of the Holy See.

Prior to this designation, the Pope appointed Tagle as prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples, which coordinates and guides the Church’s missionary efforts around the world.


Presidential Communications Operations Office, Spox Roque Press Briefing New Executive Building, Malacañang, Manila, May 4, 2020

Presidential Communications Operations Office, 2020 General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, March 10, 2020, RESCRIPTUM EX AUDIENTIA SS.MI: Description of the Holy Father Francis with whom he decided to co-opt in the Order of Bishops, equating it in all respects to the Cardinals awarded the title of a suburbicarian Church, the Most Eminent Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, May 1, 2020, Pope names two new Cardinal-Bishops and Vice Camerlengo, May 1, 2020, Resignations and appointments, Dec. 8, 2019, Cardinal Tagle leaves Philippines to take up Vatican post, Feb. 10, 2020

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines News, Pope names Tagle among top ranking cardinals, May 1, 2020

Pontifico Collegio Filippino, The PONTIFICIO COLLEGIO FILIPPINO and FRIENDS OF THE COLLEGIO thank the Holy Father POPE FRANCIS for including His Eminence, LUIS ANTONIO G. CARD. TAGLE in the Order of Cardinal-Bishops, May 1, 2020, Code of Canon Law - Chapter 3 (Can. 350 and 352), n.d., Pope approves election of Dean and Vice-Dean of College of Cardinals, Jan. 25, 2020, The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, n.d.

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)


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