JIL prays for victory for Villanueva: Rally creates monstrous traffic jam
(The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Senatorial aspirant Joel Villanueva and thousands of members of the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide (JIL) gathered at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park on a busy Friday and prayed for his victory in the 2016 elections.

The gathering caused a traffic jam that reached as far as EDSA’s intersection with Roxas Boulevard.

The former chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority joined the JIL, founded by his father, evangelist Eddie Villanueva, when the group celebrated its 37th anniversary at the grandstand.

Officials of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) prayed over Villanueva to boost his chances of victory.

Endorsement not automatic

Villanueva’s father, who lost his bid for the presidency in 2010, said while son may be one of the Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidates, it does not mean that the JIL will automatically endorse his son’s partymates.

He said the JIL – with six million members in the country – has a political affairs task force gathering date from its members here and abroad on who they should endorse in the 2016 polls.

The JIL leader, however, said there would be no “block voting” – members are free to choose whom they want but the group would give them guidance.

He said they have been receiving feelers requesting JIL’s endorsement, but noted that endorsing a candidate is a big responsibility.

“One person’s vote will not only have an impact on one person, but the whole country. Its effects would not only be one month, but throughout a lifetime because of the domino effect of an election. Second, we have to educate our people that it is not the political party, not personal friendship,” he said.

Villanueva said they will “follow the will of the Lord, who is deserving and would follow the plan of the Lord, who would be best for the country and the Filipino people.”  

When asked if former justice secretary Leila de Lima sought the JIL’s endorsement, he said she had not. Villanueva added that he respects De Lima’s decision to include his son in the third batch of pork scam cases, “but I know my son and I am very proud of him. 

Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao was expected to make an appearance yesterday, but Villanueva clarified that the solon’s presence does not mean they are endorsing him. He was invited last year to give a testimony on his being a born-again Christian, long before he decided to run for the Senate.

4 Cs for next president 

For the next president, the JIL is looking for someone who would have the 4 Cs – character, competence, compassion and courage. “A leader who has no courage, no political will is an inutil,” Villanueva said.

They are also checking the platform, track record in government, and guiding principles of the candidates.

He then added that he would be looking for a leader who would have the qualifications of former South African president Nelson Mandela and former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kwan Yew.

Villanueva said all the leading presidential candidates are his friends. He described LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas as smart; Sen. Grace Poe as brave and with integrity like her father, action star Fernando Poe Jr.; and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago as smart in matters of law.

Villanueva said he has known Vice President Jejomar Binay since their days as activists and knows that Binay treats his son, Joel, like his own. He said he is praying that the court would issue a ruling on the charges against the Vice President.

Since the substitution of candidates is allowed until Dec. 10, there is still a possibility that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whom the JIL chief admires for his political will, would change his mind and run for the presidency.

Villanueva said they might wait after Dec. 10 to announce whom they would support in 2016. “I admire his (Duterte) character because of his political will.”

Among the politicians who attended the anniversary was Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is running for vice president.

Meanwhile, Luke Roxas, who heads the Love China Fellowship, was the one who invited Indonesian evangelist Stephen Tong to speak in the 37th anniversary of JIL, was present in yesterday’s event.

“Today, 40 to 50 (Christian churches) unite and they are celebrating the JIL anniversary. We are going to spread the gospel,” Roxas said. – Non Alquitran, Evelyn Macairan


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