Bets stay up with Velarde, to no avail
THREE of the five presidential candidates attended the Sunday vigil of the popular Catholic charismatic group, El Shaddai, in an effort to win the endorsement of the group’s influential leader, Bro. Mike Velarde.
Among those who attended the overnight vigil at the El Shaddai International House of Prayer at the Amvel City Ground in Parañaque City were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II.
Vice presidential candidates Chiz Escudero and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also came to the event that started on Saturday afternoon.
They were all given a chance to address the crowd.
Several members of the group said they expected Velarde to announce the candidates he would endorse for the May 9 elections even as survey ballots with the names of the presidential and vice presidential candidates were distributed to members.
The coveted endorsement did not come, however. Velarde announced at the end of the prayer vigil at 6 a.m. Sunday that he would reveal his choices on Tuesday.
“I will let you know on Tuesday. That is our agreement, do not believe in surveys. Whatever I will tell you, that is the truth,” he told the crowd in Filipino.
Velarde said he would pray for clean, orderly and credible elections. He warned he would lead a mass action down Edsa if cheating was apparent.
He told his followers: “You are free to vote for your choice. But don’t use the surveys, use your conscience.”
“Some people are asking why I’m meddling in the elections. It’s our obligation as a citizen, as the faithful, especially those who are called by God to participate in choosing who will lead our country. I will not trample on your right to choose individually, I myself will choose,” he said.
Binay, Poe, Marcos, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and several senatorial candidates stayed and shared the stage for the almost two-hour Mass at 11 p.m.
Roxas arrived with his wife Korina Sanchez at 2 a.m.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Miriam Santiago were no-shows but there were tables reserved for them and their parties in the VIP lounge.
The senatorial candidates who came were TG Guingona, Ralph Recto, Sherwin Gatchalian, Martin Romualdez, Leila de Lima, Lorna Kapunan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Francis Tolentino, Samuel Pagdilao, Rafael Alunan and Rey Langit.
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