Villanueva: All religions should be equal

Natashya Gutierrez

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If he wins a Senate seat, Bro Eddie Villanueva says he will fight to strengthen religious freedom

MANILA, Philippines – If Bro Eddie Villanueva wins in the senatorial race in the May 2013 elections, the leader of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Movement said he will fight to strengthen religious freedom.

He told voters at the Rappler Debate on Saturday, April 13, that people do not understand the idea of separation between church and state. He said this means “the state has no right to promote one religion.”

“All religion should be equal in the eyes of the law. No one religion should be established,” he told the crowd.

He would not just push for laws that would benefit his movement, Villanueva said when an audience member expressed concern he would only promote the interests of JIL. Villanueva clarified JIL is a non-sectarian movement.

“We fight for truth, justice and righteousness that helps the poor. We will have laws to strengthen religious freedom,” he said.

A self-styled kingmaker and twice-defeated presidential bet, Villanueva is trying a political comeback.

Promote patriotism

Villanuva was also asked about his plans to preserve Ifugao rights by someone on social media.

He said he would “fight 100% for the preservation of all historical places and sites,” because it promotes “genuine patriotism.”

“I believe if historical glory of Filipinos are not taken care of, the future will be destroyed.”


This is the first time that Villanueva is running for senator, but this is not the first time he’s seeking a national post. In 2004 and 2010, he ran for president but lost. In 2010, he finished last among 5 candidates, with almost 2 million votes.

In 2010, he got less votes – only 1.13 million – finishing 5th among 9 candidates.

Initially, Villanueva’s son Joel, a member of the Aquino Cabinet, was being considered for inclusion in the Team PNoy slate, but was eventually dropped. Brother Eddie’s campaign got a boost recently when he was endorsed by boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

(Read: The many lives of Eddie Villanueva)

SUPPORTERS. Candidates' supporters and voters attend Rappler's first senatorial debate. Photo by Aya Lowe/Rappler

Rappler’s first senatorial debate, held at the Quezon City Memorial Center, is the first time a senatorial debate was held in a public place to allow voters to engage the candidates.

The debate was livestreamed online through and broadcast live on Radyo Natin, the biggest radio network in the Philippines.Radyo Natin has 100 stations nationwide – from Claveria and Aparri, Cagayan in the north to Bongao, Tawi-tawi in the south – which broadcasts to audiences never before reached by other radio stations. Radyo Natin is found on the FM band. –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.