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Bro. Eddie not seeking INC, Shaddai support

- Edu Punay () - April 21, 2004 - 12:00am
Evangelist Eduardo Villanueva won’t go begging for support from two of the country’s most influential religious groups in his bid for the presidency, his party the Bangon Pilipinas Movement (BMP) said yesterday.

BMP spokesman Luis Sison said it would be inappropriate for Villanueva to seek endorsement from the Christian sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and the Catholic El-Shaddai group.

"Although we would welcome any support from their members, Bro. Eddie will not go and beg for the endorsement of their leaders," Sison said in an interview.

He, however, said the BMP will try to get Protestants and Muslims to support Villanueva, who has strong backing from born-again Christians.

With three weeks to go before the May 10 elections, INC leader Eraño Manalo and El Shaddai’s Mike Velarde have not made public their respective choices for the presidency.

President Arroyo and opposition standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. have tried to woo the support of the INC and the El Shaddai, both of which may provide swing votes for either candidate. Mrs. Arroyo and Poe are locked in a statistical tie in the run-up to the May polls.

Both the INC and the El Shaddai claim to have 10 million members who will vote for the candidate endorsed by their leaders.

Villanueva’s party, however, claimed it may likely get the backing of the Catholic Church, as the evangelist feels he fits the ideal choice of a presidential candidate described by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales.

"My personal record and political platform towards establishing a moral and righteous leadership for the country practically reflects the standards," Villanueva said in a statement.

The BMP also claimed a prominent leader of the Church is supporting Villanueva’s candidacy.

Fr. Leonardo Polinar, who claims to be the mentor of Velarde, announced last week his support for Villanueva’s presidential bid.

According to Polinar, who himself wanted to run for president in the May polls but was declared a nuisance candidate by the poll body, he will ask Velarde to support Villanueva.

He considers Villanueva as the "righteous choice" for the presidency.

Polinar asserts he has his own following of about 10 million Filipinos.

Villanueva earlier pronounced he has the support of some members of El Shaddai, which has a voting population of some 3 million. But El Shaddai officials denied the claim, saying Velarde has not yet decided whom to endorse.

BANGON PILIPINAS MOVEMENT BUT EL SHADDAI CATHOLIC CHURCH CATHOLIC EL-SHADDAI EL SHADDAI EVANGELIST EDUARDO VILLANUEVA FERNANDO POE JR. LEONARDO POLINAR LUIS SISON VELARDE VILLANUEVA
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