"We are not Catholic enough. We have limited our Catholicism to going to church and Bible studies. We did not do our social duties," says Bishop Broderick Pabillo, DD.
Rev. Fr. Broderick Suncuaco Pabillo is the eldest of four children of Conrado C. Pabillo, an engineer, and Gloria A. Suncuaco, a public school teacher. Bishop Broderick, fondly called Brody in his family, was born on March 11, 1955 in Victorias City of Negros Occidental. The family migrated to Naga City, Camarines Sur in 1959 because his father was then employed in the Bicol Electric Company. Bishop Broderick and his siblings received their elementary education at St. Joseph School, run by Chinese priest in Naga City. When he finished his elementary in 1968, his parents sent him to study in Don Bosco Technical School in Victorias Milling Company. There he was selected by the Salesians, and after only a year he was invited to study in the Seminary. He continued his second year high school at the Don Bosco Juniorate in Bacolor, San Fernando, Pampanga where he finished high school as salutatorian in 1972. He then entered the Don Bosco Seminary College in Canlubang, Laguna where he got the degree of Bachelor in Industrial Education. There also he took his novitiate in 1974. A year later, on March 30, 1975, he made his profession in the Salesian Society. After finishing his college course in Philosophical studies in Canlubang, he was sent to teach. For one year, he taught at the Don Bosco Technical School in Makati, and the next year at the Don Bosco College Seminary in Canlubang. Then in 1978, he studied Theology at the University of Santo Tomas which he finished in 1982 with a degree of Bachelor in Sacred Theology, Summa Cum Laude. On December 8, 1982, his dream of serving the Lord was finally fulfilled when Jaime Cardinal Sin laid his hands on him and ordained him as a presbyter.
However, his dream of pastoral ministry did not materialize soon after since he was sent to Rome to study Sacred Scriptures at the Pontifical Bible Institute. After more than three years of studies, he finally finished the degree of Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures, Magna Cum Laude and returned to the country in June 1986.
Soon he was assigned as a Parochial Vicar in the Salesian Parish of San Ildefonso in Makati. After ten months of parish work, he was sent to work full time in the seminary formation in Parañque. There he taught subjects in Scriptures, especially the Old Testament, to the Theology students while serving as a formator. He also taught for sometime in San Carlos Seminary in Makati, St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Quezon City and the St. Joseph Regional Seminary in Jaro, Iloilo. In 1995, he was appointed Rector of the Don Bosco Seminary in Parañaque.
While engaged in teaching and formation work, Fr. Broderick was actively involved in helping the poor and the youth around Better Living and Bicutan. With the help of his lay students, they set up the Ating Familia Foundation in 1991 to help finance poor students in their studies. It also has a small orphanage house. This involvement was not enough for his growing desire not only to work for the poor but to be poor himself. He asked from his superiors to work directly among the poor. After some years, he was finally granted permission. So in 1999, he applied and was accepted by Bishop Pedro Arigo to work in Palawan. He was assigned to the newly-opened Parish of St. Ezekiel Moreno in Macarascas, at the outskirts of Puerto Princesa City. He stayed in that parish for seven years, building church, establishing Christian communities and setting up an intern school for high school boys and girls affiliated with the Angelicum College of Quezon City. In 2003, he joined the local clergy of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, hoping to fully give himself to work among the rural poor of Palawan all his life. However, on May 24, 2006, his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI to be the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila came. God’s ways are indeed mysterious! Wherever he is assigned, the constant values of Bishop Broderick’s life light his way: the Bible, the Poor and Prayer, making him a true Shepherd after the heart of Jesus.
He is now the Chairman of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace and heads the National Secretariat for Social Action - Caritas Philippines. His leadership led to concrete manifestation of Church in Action such as the Sumilao Farmers, NBN ZTE deal controversy, and mining issues, among others.