MANILA, March 16, 2004
(STAR) By Edu Punay - Evangelist and Bangon Pilipinas Movement standard-bearer Eduardo Villanueva, claiming moral ascendancy over other presidential candidates, said last Saturday that electing actors to key positions in government is "satanic foolishness."

Villanueva, who said he has two million supporters, reacted to critics who questioned his candidacy by raising the issue of the separation of Church and State, as mandated by the Constitution.

He said that God-fearing people should not be prohibited from holding government posts.

"What could be immoral is if we allow drug and gambling lords, actors and basketball players to occupy key positions in government," Villanueva said. "That would be satanic foolishness."

He also said only he has the moral ascendancy to lead the nation and solve widespread corruption.

"I will not be indebted to any traditional politician, who would want you to win so they could get clout in government," he said, adding that he believes Godís wisdom will be enough to guide his morally upright government if he wins in the elections.

Villanueva, who founded the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide, said people should elect a president who has a personal knowledge of God, "for a man who walks with the Scriptures could never go wrong."

"It is impossible to govern a nation without guidance from God," he said, quoting George Washington, the first president of the United States, to some 600 members and guests of a forum hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce Saturday night.

Villanueva, who claims to have been anointed by God, said a president must be righteous and ethical to be effective in transforming a deeply divided nation like the Philippines.

"We can no longer entrust our country to leaders who would initially pose as religious and charitable but would eventually ignore the poor," he said, urging voters not to support candidates who are "obviously corrupt and opportunists."

Villanueva said that if he is elected, he will assemble the best and brightest minds in the country for his Cabinet.

He added that he is willing to invite former presidents ó including President Arroyo and ousted President Joseph Estrada ó to join his administration as part of the council of elders, to serve as his advisers on governance.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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