If he opts not to run, Bro. Mike won't back Erap, GMA
MANILA - El Shaddai leader Mariano "Brother Mike" Velarde is considering running for president in 2010, adding another name to the already long list of people eyeing to be the next occupant of Malacañang.
Velarde, in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News' Karen Davila, said he is now asking his followers, allegedly numbering around 3 million worldwide, if they would want him to become the highest leader of the land.
"I want to become President of the Philippines because I thought that iyon ang paraan para matulungan ang mahihirap, the gap between the rich and poor mabigyan natin ng solusyon," Velarde said, when asked if he wants to become president.
He disclosed his thoughts on the presidency before the Catholic charismatic group inaugurates its P1 billion House of Prayer this weekend.
He said it has long been his dream to serve as president, but God had other plans for him.
However, Velarde said the lack of national unity and the absence of a candidate who can solve the country's problems egged him to consult his flock on a possible presidential run.
Velarde said he will take his cue from his followers.
"Hindi ako nagsasalita ng tapos. Everybody is a possible candidate. But my problem is, hindi na ako ang nagdedesisyon kundi yung aking following. So, whatever they say, yun ang mananaig," he said.
The consultation process among El Shaddai members has started already.
In core group discussions, members are asked 3 questions: one, if they are a registered voter; two, if they would vote for Velarde in case he runs for the presidency; and three, if Velarde does not run for president, would they support the candidate Velarde endorses.
Velarde said he will only endorse one candidate, in case he decides not to run.
El Shaddai members are also being asked if they can help get the support of 25 other voters for Velarde, or for whoever he endorses.
"There is now a signature paper. May 25 blanks doon because 25 is silver jubillee. Ang tanong is: kaya ko bang umakay ng 24 na botante. Example ikaw, kaya mo? So (for example), kung ikaw ang number 1, then you get 24 sa mga kilala mo," he said.
Velarde said if he runs in 2010, he does not plan on running a traditional election campaign like the other candidates. Thus, he must have an assured number of 10 to 15 million votes through a network marketing-like campaign.
"Kung tutuusin, kung sinabing tatakbo, mangangampanya ka. 'Di ko kayang mangampanya, that's not my nature. Pero kung talagang gusto nila sila, then ang sabi ko sa kanila, kayo magsimula. Give me the vote now, you sign now, and before the deadline, if we have the sufficient number, I'll decide on what to do," he said.
On Estrada, Arroyo
If former President Joseph Estrada runs in 2010, Velarde said he won't support him.
"Napagbigyan na natin siya, and probably, he could best serve kung gamitin na lang niya ang kanyang popularity niya to choose the better candidate or best candidate," Velarde said.
He said Estrada and other former presidents should give others, especially the younger leaders, a chance to serve the country.
"For that matter, lahat na binigyan nating pagkakataong maging Pangulo, dapat magbigay na lang silang tulong o payo. Give the younger generation a chance," he said.
He also opposed the reported bid of President Arroyo to seek a seat in Congress in 2010. Velarde said she should not run anymore.
"We've talked about her completing her term. And I said, 'I will support you until the completion of your term in 2010. My support ends there'," he said.
Despite this, Velarde invited Mrs. Arroyo to be the guest of honor at the inauguration of the House of Prayer building, located on a 10-hectare lot in Parañaque, this Saturday.