Aspirants from religious groups join 2010 race

By Lilita Balane, Newsbreak

Posted at Nov 30 2009 09:29 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2009 08:45 AM

MANILA – The 2010 slate of Bangon Pilipinas party, led by Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva, is a mix of aspirants from different religious groups.

Villanueva, the leader of Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church, presented his running mate and 5 senatorial aspirants during the filing of the group’s candidacy forms at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday.

Unlike in 2004 when he ran alone—and lost—under the Bangon Pilipinas banner, Villanueva tagged along other aspirants who are affiliated with different religious groups, ranging from Christian to Muslim groups.

Villanueva stressed that being associated to religious sects should not affect how the voters will perceive them. He said that JIL is just part of a coalition of Christ believers.

What the Bangon slate offers, according to Villanueva, is “untarnished reputation and with no records of corruption, unlike candidates from other political parties.”

Running mate

Villanueva’s running mate, former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Perfecto “Jun” Yasay, Jr., is with the United Church of Christ Philippines, which is said to have half a million members.

Yasay was included in the party’s senatorial line-up during the Bangon Pilipinas’ August announcement in Bulacan. But the party realized that the people’s clamor is to have not only a non-traditional president (referring to Bro. Eddie), but also a non-traditional vice president.

“Atty. Yasay accepted that challenge,” Bangon Pilipinas media officer Andrea Chavez said through a text message.

Yasay joined the 2001 senatorial race under Aksyon Demokratiko, a political party founded by the late senator Raul Roco, but he lost.

Senatorial aspirants

Bangon’s 5 senatorial aspirants are Kata Inocencio, Alex Tinsay, Ramoncito Ocampo, Dr. Zaruffla Alonto, and Dr. Israel Virgines.

Inocencio is a broadcast journalist and child rights advocate. She is a member of Victory Christian Fellowship.

The born-again church’s members from the entertainment industry, including Piolo Pascual, Kuh Ledesma, and Gary Valenciano, campaigned for Villanueva when he vied for the presidency in 2004.

Inocencio pioneered the child welfare program of ABS-CBN Bantay Bata 163.

Tinsay, too, is a broadcast journalist and a born-again Christian.

Virgines, on the other hand, heads the Seventh Day Adventist schools in the Philippines. The Adventist church claimed to have more than 2 million members.

Another senatorial aspirant, lay leader and lawyer Ramoncito

Ocampo belongs to the Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group El Shaddai group where he is a lay leader.

Ocampo’s candidacy under the Bangon Pilipinas banner is with the blessing of El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde.

A lawyer, Ocampo is a fraternity brother of Villanueva's son, Bocaue mayor Educardo Villanueva, Jr.

The fifth candidate, Alonto, is an author and Islamic theologian.

He is a relative of the late Senator Alauya Alonto.

Not joining the senatorial slate are former National Economic Development Authority chief Cielito Habito and Adventist’s Tom Meneses. Both were previously announced as part of Bangon’s senatorial line up.

Bangon’s Chavez said that the 2 decided to oversee the party’s campaign.

Alternative

Except for Villanueva and Yasay who previously tried to run for elective posts, Bangon’s candidates are all neophytes.

This is part of Bangon’s goal to provide "alternative candidates offering the Filipinos genuine change," Villanueva said.

“Kami ay hindi nangangako ng kung anuman, kung hindi, kami ay nag-aalay ng isang paglilingkod na tinitiyak kong hindi kayang ibigay ng traditional politicians. Sapagkat kami pong lahat ay hindi po beholden sa kahit kaninong interests, ng pribadong tao o pribadong grupo,” Villanueva said.

If he gets elected, Villanueva said he will “wage a serious war against injustices, corruption, and poverty.”

He added that “Six years is not enough, but at least we can lay down the foundation.” - Lilita Balane, Newsbreak