El Shaddai leader invites Villar, Legarda to Hong KongFebruary 11, 2010
STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – BRO. MIKE VELARDE, THE CHARISMATIC LEADER OF THE EIGHT-MILLION-STRONG EL SHADDAI, HAS INVITED THE TANDEM OF SEN. MANUEL VILLAR JR. AND SEN. LOREN LEGARDA TO ATTEND THEIR HONG KONG CHAPTER’S ANNIVERSARY THIS WEEKEND.
It was Velarde who invited them to Hong Kong, Legarda said, adding that the three of them would be there from Feb. 13 to 14.
“Inimbitahan kami ni Brother Mike sa Hong Kong (Brother Mike invited us to Hong Kong),” Legarda told reporters Thursday.
However, she could not say if the invitation was tantamount to endorsement. She also said she is not aware if Velarde also invited other candidates for president and vice president.
Politicians have been seeking the support of religious groups, particularly El Shaddai and Iglesia Ni Cristo, to ensure votes during elections.
El Shaddai has a reported membership of eight million, half of which is in the Philippines, while Iglesia ni Cristo, which has an estimated membership of two million, has been known to practice bloc voting.
Villar and Velarde are both real estate developers.
Velarde has yet to openly endorse a presidential candidate, but he is reportedly encouraging members to wear orange, Villar’s campaign color, during their overnight services. He is also reportedly fond of saying the word “check,” which is Villar’s campaign symbol.
Velarde had earlier expressed desire to run for president but abandoned the idea after getting negative feedback from his supporters. – Amita Legaspi/KBK, GMANews.TV