El Shaddai group aims to show its power in vote

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El Shaddai spiritual leader Mike Velarde

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino Catholic groups are trying to muster million votes for senatorial candidates who oppose the Reproductive Health Law Congress passed last year.

Catholic leader Mike Velarde said Monday his El Shaddai group and dozens of other lay organizations have formed the “White Vote movement” to campaign for pro-church candidates in the May 13 midterm elections.

Velarde said the movement will prove the Catholic church remains a force to reckon with in Asia’s largest Catholic nation.

Congress passed the law providing state funding for contraceptives despite the church’s staunch opposition.

Several lawmakers who voted for and against the law are vying for 12 of 24 Senate seats in next month’s balloting.

The law is being challenged in court and has not taken effect.

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