MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Jesus is Lord founder and leader Eddie Villanueva filed Thursday his certificate of candidacy for senator in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Villanueva, more popularly known as Brother Eddie, filed his COC at the Commission on Elections main office past noon today. He will take the place of Bangon Pilipinas party-mate and 33rd senatorial candidate Israel Virgines, who has withdrawn his candidacy.
Virgines was a late filer but the Comelec included him on the official list after he explained that he was caught in traffic on the way to the poll body's office.
A source from the Bangon Pilipinas media bureau said Villanueva only made his decision to run for senator last weekend. The source said former Chief Justice Reynato Puno had been trying since last year to convince Villanueva to run in the 2013 polls.
In a statement, Villanueva confirmed that his electoral bid was a last-minute decision.
"There has been a clamor within Bangon Pilipinas to field a candidate to keep the vision (of seeing a new Philippines) burning," he said in a statement.
The spiritual leader also confirmed that former Chief Justice Puno and the Bro. Eddie for Senator Movement (BESMo) convinced him to join the mid-term elections. BESMo was formed in 2011 to push Villanueva to run.
Villanueva ran for president in 2004 and 2010, losing both times. He turned 66 last October.
Villanueva's son, TESDA chief Joel Villanueva, was recently dropped as a senatorial candidate of the administration Liberal Party despite being endorsed earlier by President Aquino.
The younger Villanueva later said he was asked by the President to stay at the helm of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.