The Manila Times : El Shaddai endorses BBM-Sara tandem

13 February 2022

By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times

CATHOLIC charismatic group El Shaddai on Saturday endorsed the presidential and vice presidential bid, respectively, of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the upcoming national elections.

El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde made the announcement at the El Shaddai International House of Prayer in Parañaque City. Velarde had also endorsed Marcos in his failed bid for the vice presidency in 2016.

Duterte-Carpio, chairman of the Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats party, thanked El Shaddai and its millions of members for deciding to support her and Marcos.

She said the endorsement of El Shaddai will inspire her and Marcos to lead the country.

El Shaddai has more than 6 million members. While the group is known to endorse candidates, they have never engaged in bloc voting.

The El Shaddai support comes a day after Marcos and Duterte-Carpio vowed to focus more on their campaign after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the disqualification cases against the former senator.

Speaking to reporters during her visit to Nueva Vizcaya on Friday, Duterte-Carpio said the Comelec decision was a "welcome development for the UniTeam."

Marcos, for his part, hailed the dismissal of the petitions, and hoped he can carry on with the campaign "without all of these distractions."

Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, is vying for the vice presidential seat under the Lakas-CMD party while Marcos is running under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

On Thursday, the Comelec First Division voted unanimously to dismiss the three consolidated disqualification petitions against Marcos, clearing him of the bulk of major legal challenges against his candidacy.

Among those included in the ruling were petitions filed by Bonifacio Ilagan, Akbayan party-list and Commissioner Abubakar Mangelen of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. The petitioners vowed to continue their fight and are set to take the matter before the Comelec en banc.

The consolidated petitions to disqualify Marcos were based on the argument that he was barred from holding public office after he was convicted of failing to file his income tax returns during his term as Ilocos Norte vice governor and later governor (1982 to 1985).

In its ruling, the division said that the penalty of perpetual disqualification for failure to file income tax returns could not be applied to Marcos' tax offenses as these were committed before the January 1986 effectivity of Presidential Decree (PD) 1994.

PD 1994, which amended the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977, states a public officer convicted of a crime penalized by the Code shall be perpetually disqualified from holding any public office, voting, and participating in any election.

Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer and Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said the Comelec ruling junking Marcos' disqualification cases was "good for him" and considers Covid-19 and its adverse socioeconomic effects to the Filipino people as the "real enemy and not his rivals for the presidency."

"Good for him. Remember we are not enemies, we are just competing with each other," said Domagoso when sought for his comment on the ruling.

At the same time, Domagoso stressed that he was unfazed by Marcos' high numbers in recent presidential surveys and is confident that the so-called silent majority will be the game changer in his quest to become the next president of the country.

'Kakampink support'

Senate candidates for the tandem of Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo and her running mate Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan thanked progressive and sectoral groups for their support, but said they would also need senators and representatives who would lead a movement for progressive political, social and economic reforms in Congress.

"I appeal to all our Kakampink supporters nationwide. Let's send Leni Robredo to Malacañang, along with a substantial number of allies in Congress who will provide the needed legislative support for her to be able to improve the lives of the people, especially the poor," said Erin Tañada, former lawmaker at the House of Representatives.

Former Ifugao governor and representative Teodoro "Teddy" Baguilat, now a Senate candidate for the Leni-Kiko tandem, said electing Robredo as president was a "strong first move" but will need "a strong and supportive legislature to back her and allow her to untangle various problems besetting the country."

Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno, a human rights advocate and law professor who is also a Senate candidate for the Leni-Kiko team, believes Robredo will require the Senate and House's help to fix the country's many challenges.

"We need like-minded legislators who may not always be in agreement but will always have the best interests of the people in heart and mind," said Diokno, son of the former senator Jose "Ka Pepe" Diokno.

Former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, who is seeking a return to the Senate, believes that a supportive Congress would not become a rubber stamp under a Robredo presidency.

"The people have had enough of a legislature blindly following a corrupt leader," said Trillanes.