MANILA, Philippines – Influential Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai has endorsed the election bids of dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
The Marcos-Duterte tandem got the endorsement during an El Shaddai event on Saturday, February 12, in Parañaque City. The support of El Shaddai, widely perceived to vote as a bloc, is usually sought after by candidates seeking to win the elections.
Marcos and Duterte thanked El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde and his followers.
“Ako po ay nagpapasalamat kay Brother Mike Velarde at lahat ng kasapi ng El Shaddai – hindi lamang sa inyong pag-anyaya dito sa amin dito ngayong gabi, ngunit sa gabay na ibinibigay ni Brother Mike…. Kami po ni Inday Sara ay nagsimula ng aming kampanya sa aming adhikain na pagkakaisa,“ Marcos said.
(I am grateful for Brother Mike Velarde and all the members of El Shaddai – not only for the invitation for us to be here tonight but also for the guidance given by Brother Mike…. Inday Sara and I started our campaign with the advocacy of unity.)
Duterte, meanwhile, said: “Ang inyong suporta sa aking kandidatura sa pagka-bise presidente ng Pilipinas ay isang malaking tulong sa aking pangarap at mga gustong isulong kapag ako ay nahalal kasama ang ating presidential candidate, si Apo Bongbong Marcos.“
(Your support for my candidacy for vice president of the Philippines is a huge help for my dream and advocacies should I be elected alongside our presidential candidate, Apo Bongbong Marcos.)
Duterte added that if elected, she and Marcos would face a lot of challenges ahead.
“Kagalang-galang na Brother Mike Velarde, ang inyo pong dasal at basbas – kasama ng lahat ng kasapi ng El Shaddai – ay karagdagang sandata sa amin ni Apo BBM sa pagharap namin sa hamon na pamunuan ang ating bansa,“ she said.
(Honorable Brother Mike Velarde, your prayers and blessings – along with all the members of El Shaddai – is another weapon for us as we face the challenges that come with leading the country.)
In endorsing Marcos and Duterte, Velarde said: “In one mind, magkaisa tayo ng isipan at puso sa ating paghahalal. Tiyak ‘yun. (We are one in mind and heart when it comes to voting. That’s for sure).“
Velarde later asked Marcos and Duterte to sing “Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan” in a duet.
In a statement later on Saturday, Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said that El Shaddai’s endorsement is “another testament” that the Filipino people agree with the tandem’s messaging of unity.
“We welcome everyone in this movement for national unity – even those who have different political leanings and beliefs, even our very critics – for only in the act of joining hands we may triumph over all challenges we face today and on the road ahead,” Rodriguez said.
On Saturday, El Shaddai also endorsed the senatorial bid of former public works secretary Mark Villar and former police chief Guillermo Eleazar. Other candidates running for local office were also present at the event.
El Shaddai’s endorsement of Marcos is not surprising, given that the influential group also backed his vice presidential bid in 2016. El Shaddai also supported the presidential candidacy of former vice president Jejomar Binay that year. Both Binay and Marcos lost.
In 2021, El Shaddai cut ties with House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza, the running mate of presidential aspirant and Senator Manny Pacquiao. – Rappler.com
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