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Bishop Santos, The New Bishop of Antipolo

by Joel V. Ocampo


The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Ruperto Cruz Santos, D.D. until now Bishop of Balanga, as the new Bishop of Antipolo.


His Excellency Most Rev. Ruperto C. Santos was born on October 30, 1957 in San Rafael, Bulacan. He studied Philosophy and Theology at the San Carlos Seminary. He received his Ordination to the Sacred Order of Presbyters on September 10, 1983 at the Manila Cathedral, through the laying of hands of the late +Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, the then Archbishop of Manila.


As a priest, the then Fr. Ruperto Santos serve in the following ministries:

  • deputy parish priest of the Immaculate Conception in Metro Manila,

  • chaplain of the Pasig Catholic College in Metro Manila (1983-1986),

  • and parish priest in San Antonio Abad Parish- Maybunga, Pasig City (1986).


Bp. Ruperto "Stud" Santos | photo from balangadiocese.com


According to records, he was awarded a licentiate in history from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1987-1990), and went on to hold the offices of professor of Church history at the San Carlos Seminary of Manila (1990-1995), and superior and subsequently rector of the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome.


On April 1, 2010, he was appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Balanga. Then on June 24 of the same year, he was ordained Bishop at the Manila Cathedral, with H. E. Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales as the Principal Consecrator, and +Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams as Co-Consecrators. His installation as the new Bishop of Balanga was held on July 8, 2010.


As a bishop, he served in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in the following ministries:

  • Regional Representative (Central Luzon) in the Permanent Council (2015-2017 and 2017-2019),

  • Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (2015-2017 and 2017-2019),

  • Member of the Committee on International Eucharistic Congresses and Commission on Prison Pastoral Care in 2017-2019, and

  • Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Pontificio Collegio Filippino (2019-2021 and 2021-2023).


Bishop of Balanga

Being the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Balanga in Bataan, he regularly writes Gospel reflections, pastoral letters, and diocesan updates which he calls “The Sower's Plowshare”. He also wrote prayer books entitled, “Making the New Way of the Cross Meditatively”,” The New Station of the Cross for Families”, and “The Way of The Cross - The Way of The Migrants”.


In addition, he is also actively involved in social action activities of the Catholic Church such as responsible citizenship, care for God's creation, life and dignity of the human person, dignity of work, among others.


As reported in the “Balitang DOB | Eleksyon 2022”, during the May 9, 2022 Philippine Presidential Election 2022, Bishop Santos himself visited the schools and parishes to monitor the situations. Then in the evening, he joined the volunteers in waiting for the Provincial Electoral Board to give update and result from the said election.


“Bishop Santos, Kasamang Nagbabatay Hanggang sa Bilangan”


As a Bishop of Bataan, he wrote Pastoral Letters about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. I one of these letters, dated January 6, 2023, Bishop Santos said, “I, the current Bishop of Balanga, support the views and respect the plans of our clergy, our current local government officials, and the lay faithful of the Diocese of Balanga in Bataan. United with them, I speak and stand against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and oppose the idea or planned continuation of the BNPP.” He further emphasized in his pastoral letter, “Life is more important to us than profit or money from low-cost electricity or just to satisfy someone’s personal selfish motives. We take great care of the Lord God’s creations and we have truly responded to His call to preserve and not destroy, to enrich and not abuse, everything He has made. There are clean, renewable energy sources, in particular the Wind, Water (hydro), and Solar, that can be explored, tried, and implemented. These are the types of sources that can make energy safer and more reliable.”


In July 2020, he wrote a Pastoral Statement about our Seafarers where he said, “Seafarers are very much essential service providers. They are key workers for the growth of economy and for the transit of material goods, medical supplies and mineral elements. With their services and expertise whether in cargo or tankers hips, commodities and goods move around swiftly and safely around the globe. With their sacrifices and exemplary works our whether cruise or passenger ships our travels are memorable and pleasing.” Bishop Santos is also the CBCP Bishop-Promoter of the Apostleship of the Seas Philippines during this time.


BNPP Visit | from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Balanga Facebook page

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In June 20, 2018, Bishop Santos said in a pastoral reflection on the occasion of World Day of Refugees that “Human Trafficking is Modern-day Slavery”. He further said, “Human trafficking leads to nowhere but to the total destruction of persons and properties. It is all wrong and all evil. Why? Human trafficking is most cruel and brutal act a man can inflict to his fellowman. The man, woman or child who is trafficked or illegally recruited is taken not as a person, not as a human being but as an object for profit or for pleasure. The person is regarded as mere commodity. Human trafficking violates a person’s dignity and human rights. His or her life is placed in danger of death and destruction. His or her family suffers separation and agonizes over the uncertainty of its illegally recruited family member.”


In addition, Bishop Santos was also one of the bishops who supported the “No to Kaliwa Dam, Yes to Alternative Sources of Water” campaign in July 26, 2018.


Finally, in his September 2017 Pastoral Letter, Bishop Santos said, “Be fearless in fighting for what is right; always defend God’s creation; and know that with and for God, we are assured victory.” He further said, “Like Saint Michael we should be firm and steadfast in our goals. We should be strong in carrying out our mission. We should fight with courage the wrong and evil that we see; that threaten goodness and peace. Like Saint Michael we should be fearless in fighting for the truth and for what is right. We should always defend God and all His creation. And if we work and serve for God, He will make us victorious.”


A Simple Bishop

Finally, in the recent Visit of the Relics of St. Therese to Bataan in January 2023, I met Bishop Santos. When I first saw him, I doubted if he is the bishop. I saw him wearing simple clothes, walking around the cathedral grounds, talking to janitors, parishioners, visitors, etc. I asked myself, “Is he the bishop?” Then, when he was introduced to us by the Cathedral priest, my question was answered. After our short conversation with him, we proceeded in the welcome mass for the Visit of the Relics of St. Therese in the Balanga Cathedral.



During the welcome Mass, Bishop Santos said, “Ikaw at ako ay misyonero ni Jesus dito sa lupa. Ipinakita sa atin ni Sta. Teresita ang halimbawa ng pagmamahal, pagtitiwala, at pagsunod. Magtiwala tayo sa Diyos, hindi sa horoscope, hula, agimat, sinasapian ng ingkong, o ano pa man. Sa ating paglalakbay dito sa daigdig, dalhin natin ang 'Little Way' ni Sta. Teresita.”

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