Bro. Eddie Villanueva replaces Virgines in senatorial raceBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – Jesus is Lord group leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva will be running as the 33rd senatorial candidate in next year’s midterm polls, replacing his Bangon Pilipinas party-mate Israel Virgines.
Villanueva went to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros Thursday afternoon to file his senatorial bid, a few hours after Virgines filed his withdrawal from the senatorial race.
The poll body had earlier accepted the candidacy of Virgines even though he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) way past the 5 p.m. deadline on Oct. 5, claiming that he was caught in heavy traffic on his way to the Comelec main office.
The poll body voted unanimously to allow Virgines to participate in the elections, deeming reasonable his explanation for being late in filing his COC. The poll body also approved Virgines’ petition as he is being fielded by a major political party “capable of launching a nationwide campaign.”
Villanueva: I want to be ‘peacemaker’ at Senate
Villanueva, who lost in the 2004 and 2010 presidential elections, said that if elected, said he wanted to serve as “peacemaker” at the Senate.
“If there’s conflict among senators, I think I am qualified to patch up any possible differences and hasten the passage of possible legislation needed by our country,” Villanueva said.
The founder of Bangon Pilipinas emphasized the controversial issue on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, saying that “the spirit of cooperation and unity are paramount to make the Senate more effective in fulfilling its duty to the nation.”
“Dapat pagkatapos ng issue, magkaroon ng healing at sportsmanship to hasten the improvement of the country. Dapat wala yung mga personal(an) (After all issues have been resolved, healing should take place and the spirit of sportsmanship must prevail…They must stay away from personal attacks) ,” he said.
On Wednesday night, the Senate and the House of the Representatives ratified the final version of the RH bill that would provide government funding for contraceptives and sexuality classes in schools. The bill triggered heated debates from both panels, especially on the issue of whether to retain the term “safe and satisfying sex.”
Villanueva, meanwhile, said that he did not want to replace Virgines but that when the latter’s application was approved, the national leadership of Bangon Pilipinas presented to him the “clamor to entertain the substitution.”
Poll Chief Sixto Brillantes Jr, for his part, had earlier noted that the poll body would allow substitutes belonging to the same party until Friday, Dec. 21.