SHADDAI INVITES GMA TODAY FOR 'FORMAL ENDORSEMENT'

MANILA,  May 6, 2004
 
(STAR)
El Shaddai charismatic leader Bro. Mike Velarde is formally giving his group’s "blessing" to the candidacy of President Arroyo, her campaign spokesman Michael Defensor disclosed yesterday.

Defensor said that Mrs. Arroyo, who was invited to the El Shaddai’s regular prayer rally tonight at Amvel Park in Ninoy Aquino Avenue in Parañaque City, has definitely gotten the endorsement of the El Shaddai, which boast of two million members, for the May 10 elections.

"The President was invited to that gathering by Bro. Mike Velarde and we expect him to pronounce the words of support of El Shaddai to her," Defensor said.

He told The STAR that Mrs. Arroyo will be the only guest invited to attend the prayer rally at 7 p.m.

The El Shaddai endorsement comes at the heels of the official circular issued by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) leadership calling upon its six million flock to vote for Mrs. Arroyo, her vice presidential running mate, Sen. Noli de Castro, and six of their senatorial candidates in the K-4.

Asked by The STAR what may have prompted the INC to throw its support to Mrs. Arroyo, Defensor replied: "She has always heeded the advice of Ka Erdie Manalo."

"Because the President has always asked for guidance and advice of Ka Erdie," he added.

Defensor, who has acted as Mrs. Arroyo’s personal emissary to the INC, disclosed that Mrs. Arroyo went to the INC Central Office in Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City at least five times to seek audience with Ka Erdie.

Defensor insisted that there was nothing wrong if Mrs. Arroyo, like all other candidates, had sought the support of the INC.

Defensor revealed that he was supported by the INC when he ran and won first as councilor in Quezon City and later as congressman.

"When you get the INC support, you are almost a sure winner," Defensor told The STAR. — Marichu Villanueva


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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