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Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Fearless Corruption Foe, Dies at 85

His activism spanned the terms of several presidents.
by Joel Guinto
Aug 26, 2020

Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, who devoted his life chasing the corrupt, both men of the cloth and those in high government positions, has died of natural causes, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said Wednesday. He was 85.

Cruz is known for his relentless crusade against jueteng, an illegal numbers game that preys on the poor and corrupts local officials with fat kickbacks. He is among the founders of the People's Crusade Against Jueteng. Allegations of jueteng kickbacks led to the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada.

He also revealed that during former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term, several bishops received luxury cars, including Mistubishi Pajeros from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. At that time, Arroyo was courting support from various sectors since she was beset with allegations of corruption and vote-rigging.

During the term of former President Benigno Aquino, he sought his impeachment over the DAP, a budget realignment scheme that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional. 

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He was Archbishop Emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan before his death.

A colleague in the parliament of the streets, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr, condolded with Cruz's family: "I had known him when we worked together in many campaigns during the Arroyo regime. We were together in the fight vs election fraud, against the killings of activist and in the broad united front."

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