Brother Eddie to run again in 2010

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — BROTHER Eddie Villanueva will run again for president in the 2010 polls.

And though he did not declare it outright, the 62-year-old Jesus is Lord spiritual director dropped enough hints that he would seek the country’s highest office during the launching of the “Bagong Pilipinas, Bagong Pilipino” movement at the packed Araneta Coliseum last Wednesday.

“I accept and have decided to heed the challenge of the movement once again,” said Villanueva, who ran as the standard-bearer Bangon Pilipinas party in 2004, to the loud roar of the Big Dome gallery.

The former activist turned evangelist, whose church has close to four million members and has chapters in 42 countries, announced that he officially took a leave of absence from his pastoral duties effective last February to focus his time and energies on the reorganized movement.

Taking over his responsibilities is his wife, Adoracion Villanueva, better known as “Ate Dory,” who is the JIL executive director.

“I have been in the ministry for the past 31 years; it has been my passion. But I am willing to sacrifice so I can focus on the ‘Bagong Pilipinas, Bagong Pilipino’ movement,” he said. “Mahal ko ang Diyos ngunit mahal ko rin ang ating bayan.’

Brother Eddie disclosed the movement’s seven-point platform, and among them are: eradicate poverty, educate the people, energize the citizenry, eradicate bad governance, and establish peace within the land.

He said his decision to reconsider running for president again was boosted when he received a text message from a 15-year-old Bacolod City high schooler, Andoni Valencia, who campaigned for his presidency even though he was still ineligible to vote.

“He told me what he did and seemed discouraged that I would not run again,” Villanueva said.

The bespectabled Valencia, now a 19-year-old third year political science at the University of St. La Salle, went all the way from Bacolod to be present in last Saturday’s meeting and was given a chance to speak during the occasion.

“He (Brother Eddie) remains to be a light in this darkest hour of Philippine history,” Valencia said.

Also played during the five-hour-long program was a 30-second advertisement featuring Villanueva and a grim and grimy-looking young girl scavenging for food in a garbage dump.

The plug ends with Brother Eddie picking up the child and saying: “May pag-asa pa bayan.”

Also among those present who made their pitch for the JIL head were former National Telecommunications chairman Josie Lichauco, former actress-singer Leah Navarro, a leading figure in the Black and White Movement, and Akbayan party-list Rep. Rissa Hontiveros Baraquel.