MANILA (UPDATE)— Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai has not endorsed any presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the May 2022 elections, its spiritual adviser clarified Monday.
Most Rev. Bishop Teodoro Bacani said Bro. Mike Velarde's endorsement of the tandem of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was personal.
"Lilinawin ko nang mabuti. Una, hindi endorsement ng El Shaddai 'yung binigay ni Bro. Mike," he told Teleradyo.
Bacani said Velarde did not consult El Shaddai elders about such move.
"That is not El Shaddai. Maliwanag ba 'yun? That is Bro. Mike Velarde, who is head of El Shaddai, but it is not the opinion of the body," he added.
El Shaddai members, Bacani said, are free to choose their candidates for the upcoming polls.
"Hindi [Velarde] siya puwedeng mag-obliga sa kaniyang mga followers na bumoto para sa ganitong kandidato o para sa ganung kandidato," he said.
"Bahagi ng kalayaan ng isang Katoliko ay makapamili ng kaniyang iboboto ayon sa kaniyang nalalaman at ayon sa kaniyang konsensiya."
"Sa El Shaddai, walang command vote na katulad sa Iglesia Ni Cristo," he added.
In the interview, Bacani slammed Velarde's endorsement to Marcos as "downright wrong".
"Sa palagay ko, mali ang kaniyang pag-endorso. It's downright wrong. You can't endorse a man like Bongbong Marcos for President," he said.
He cited widespread human rights abuses and massive plundering under the Marcos regime, with thousands of people killed or tortured.
Based on the World Bank-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery report, the Marcoses amassed an estimated $5 to $10 billion, or more than P500 billion, in ill-gotten wealth.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government, the government agency tasked with recovering billions of dollars plundered by Marcos and his allies, has recovered a total of P170 billion in the past 30 years.
Bacani also railed at alleged efforts from the Marcos camp to rewrite history.
"He and his family have not apologized for what happened. Nagkakaroon pa ngayon ng revisionism kung tatawagin para pagandahin ang imahe nila at palabasin na sila pa ang biktima. Samantalang ang bayang Pilipino nabiktima nila. Labing-pitong taon," he said.
The Catholic prelate added, "Never again, Marcos. Except if he says I am sorry for what my father did and we will return whatever money has not yet been returned to the Philippine government and to the Filipinos."
In the latest Pulse Asia survey, the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos emerged as the most preferred presidential candidate among respondents from socioeconomic classes CDE.
In second place is Vice President Leni Robredo, garnering the support of 16 percent of respondents.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso each had 8 percent of respondents' support, while Sen. Panfilo Lacson had 4 percent.