EL SHADDAI SNUBS BISHOP BACANI, GOES AHEAD WITH BBM ENDORSEMENT

EL SHADDAI SNUBS BISHOP BACANI, GOES AHEAD WITH BBM ENDORSEMENT

MANILA — Despite Catholic Bishop Teodoro Bacani’s much-publicized resentment, El Shaddai’s Brother Mike Velarde and his followers continued with their endorsement of presidential frontrunner Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

To accentuate their solidarity with Marcos supporters and stress their group’s endorsement of the UniTeam, members of the charismatic group are now carrying their “prayer handkerchief” bearing the BBM-Sara Uniteam logo.

El Shaddai members believe that their handkerchiefs, which bear the Psalm 91 from the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms, are powerful and help to keep them safe from harm.

“Taglay namin sa aming puso ang pananampalataya at paniniwala na ang susunod na pangulo ay si BBM at siya ang maghahatid sa atin sa isang masaganang bukas,” said 62-year old Adelina Angeles of Caloocan City.

“Sinasamahan ng dasal ang pananampalataya. Naniniwala kami sa aming leader na si Brother Mike at batid naming tama ang kaniyang pasiya,” quipped Rufina Santos, who, along with Aling Adelina, was among the first converts when the movement was formed in 1984 in San Dionisio Parañaque.

Last February 12, Brother Mike personally endorsed the UniTeam during the group’s fellowship but Bacani, the group’s spiritual adviser, disowned the endorsement, saying that it was very wrong and was not cleared with other group leaders.

“Hindi ko masasang-ayunan ang pag-endorsong ito sapagkat sa palagay ko ay maling mali, kung merong hindi dapat iboto para presidente, ito ay si Bongbong Marcos,” Bacani said over Church-ran station Radyo Veritas two days later.

But Velarde was firm in his decision and rebuffed Bacani’s rants.

“Matagal nang lumapit sakin ‘yang dalawang yan, lalo na si Bongbong, it’s time for us Filipinos to be united. After all napagbigyan natin yung mga kalaban ni Marcos nang maraming taon, ‘di ba?” said Velarde.

While Bacani said he respects Velarde’s right as a citizen to support a presidential candidate, he insisted that their members should follow the Catholic principle of freely choosing who to vote for, regardless of who priests and bishops endorse.

Regardless of the schism inside the movement, members of the charismatic group are rallying behind Velarde’s leadership and his decision to join the swelling ranks of UniTeam believers.

It is widely believed that the El Shaddai, which boasts of more than eight million members worldwide, delivers solid votes like the Iglesia ni Cristo, which could very well be the sinking stone that could provide a major blow to the other presidential wannabees. (ai/mtvn)

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