MANILA, Philippines – Catholic Bishop Teodoro Bacani, spiritual adviser of charismatic group El Shaddai, has disowned Brother Mike Velarde’s endorsement of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte, saying that it was not cleared with other group leaders and is “maling mali (very wrong).”
“Hindi ko masasang-ayunan ang pag-endorsong ito sapagkat sa palagay ko ay maling mali, kung merong hindi dapat iboto para presidente, ito ay si Bongbong Marcos,” Bishop Bacani said over Church-ran station Radyo Veritas on Monday, February 14.
(I cannot adhere to this endorsement because I believe that this is very wrong, if there’s someone you shouldn’t vote for as president, that is Bongbong Marcos.)
El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde hosted Marcos and Duterte during its service in Parañaque City on Saturday, February 12, and endorsed the two.
“Matagal nang lumapit sakin ‘yang dalawang yan, lalo na si Bongbong, it’s time for us Filipinos to be united. After all napagbigyan natin yung mga kalaban ni Marcos nang maraming taon, diba?” said Velarde.
(The two have approached me long before, especially Bongbong, and it’s time for us Filipinos to be united. After all, we have given Marcos’ opponents the chance to lead for many years, right?)
Bacani, Bishop-emeritus of Novaliches, said Velarde did not consult his action with the other leaders of the group. While Bacani said he respects Velarde’s right as a citizen to support a presidential candidate, the bishop stuck to the Catholic principle of freely choosing who to vote for, regardless of who priests and bishops endorse.
“Karapatan din po ng bawat kasapi ng El Shaddai o attender ng El Shaddai na pumili at mag-endorso ng kanilang kandidato, hindi sila obligadong sumunod sa sinasabing pag-endorso daw ni Brother Mike Velarde,” said Bacani.
(It is the right of every member of El Shaddai or attender of El Shaddai to choose and endorse their own candidate, they are not obliged to follow the supposed endorsement of Brother Mike Velarde.)
In urging Catholics not to vote for Marcos, Bacani cited the widespread corruption of Marcos’ father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, during martial law.
“Alam natin na siya naman ay wastong gulang nang dambungin ng kanyang ama ang ating bayan, kung paano sila nagpayaman ng katakut-takot, at ito po ay hindi haka haka, sapagkat bilyon mahigit na po ang nasamsam muli ng gobyerno sa kanilang kinitang hindi dapat,” said Bacani.
(We know he was already in his right age when his father plundered our nation, how they enriched themselves excessively, and this is not a myth, because the government has already recovered billions from their ill-gotten wealth.)
The Philippine government has recovered P174.2 billion in Marcos ill-gotten wealth, and is still running after P125 billion more, to be sourced from different sources like cronies and middle companies. The Supreme Court in 2003 declared categorically as ill-gotten Marcos assets in Swiss foundation amounting to $658 million.
For entering into a compromise agreement with the Philippine government, and dividing their assets, a United States court held Marcos and his mother Imelda in contempt, because the damages eventually awarded to human rights victims were supposed to be sourced from there. The contempt order against Marcos, worth $353 million, has been extended to January 25, 2031.
Marcos is running on a promise of unity, although critics have pointed out he is the most divisive candidate.
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