4 senatorial bets, Mike Velarde’s partylist get Batangas bishop’s nodBy Marrah Erika Lesaba
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LIPA CITY, Philippines—Archbishop Ramon Arguelles publicly endorsed four senatorial candidates and two partylist groups as his own choices in the midterm elections in May.
Arguelles endorsed the “Buhay” and “Ang Prolife,” two partylists that stick to the Catholic Church’s “pro-life” stance, and the senatorial candidacies of Mitos Magsaysay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA); and Lito David, JC Delos Reyes and Mars Llasos, all of the Kapatiran Party, in a speech at pro-life forum here on Friday that was attended by over a hundred people.
Buhay (Buhay Hayaan Yumabong) Partylist, which is headed by El Shaddai spiritual leader Mike Velarde, has declared itself as an “organization that acknowledges the sanctity and value of human life as the most fundamental element of society and recognize the rights of individuals disadvantaged by age, sickness and disability,” while the Ang Prolife Partylist describes itself as an “ organization comprising a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to the Pro-Life and Pro-Family advocacy.”
Llasos and Magsaysay were not present at the forum held at the St. Francis de Sales Minor Seminary gymnasium which was attended by representatives from the parishes and towns in Batangas and guests and pro-life speakers from the United States.
He said he endorsed Magsaysay even though she is not a member of Kapatiran because “she stood by us until the end. And I think she’s very sincere and a good Catholic.” He was referring to the vote of Magsaysay, as representative of Zambales, against passage of the Reproductive Health Bill that President Aquino has already signed into law.
Arguelles declared he would support persons with a pro-life stance. “We will not endorse those who voted for RH.”
Arguelles likewise urged the participants not to vote for left wing candidates and the so-called “tuta nang mga kano (American lapdogs).”
“We should not vote for those American lapdogs. The communists are also paid by the Americans; they are the pro-RH (in Congress),” he said.
In endorsing his candidates, the bishop stressed he was not speaking for other dioceses or bishops but he believed his colleagues in the hierarchy of Catholic Church also favor the four senatorial candidates and the Kapatiran Party.
“I am the only outspoken one and I am not ashamed to say so because the time is right for this,” said the prelate.
Arguelles said the Church was working for a Catholic vote as it is their task as bishops to ensure that the faithfuls stick to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
JC Delos Reyes, interviewed following the forum, said he was grateful for Arguelles’ endorsement. “He really believed in me and he is like my spiritual father,” Delos Reyes said.
He said the bishop knew he was not a “trapo (traditional politician) and won’t be a clown just to get elected.”
Delos Reyes decribed himself as a “political missionary” who is pushing for “principles and platform that are godly.”
After the forum, a Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Arguelles.
The signing of a peace covenant among the candidates here initiated by Lipa City police director Superintendent Christopher Birung coincided with the forum.