BRO. EDDIE'S  BRETHREN  SAY  HE  SHOULD  CONCEDE

MANILA,  JUNE 24, 2004
(STAR) 
Whatever he heard, it certainly was not the voice of God.

A group of pastors and bishops yesterday told religious leader Eddie Villanueva, who came in last in the presidential race, to stop mixing religion and politics, labeling his campaign tactics "a perversion."

Villanueva ó spiritual leader of the Jesus is Lord movement and a candidate for the Bangon Pilipinas Movement (BPM) ó has refused to concede defeat, claiming the May 10 elections were marred by massive cheating and that he would concede only when the true will of the people is made clear.

An umbrella organization of born-again Christian churches allied with Villanueva urged him to yield.

"You did not hear the voice of God. You should accept the reality that you lost. If God really called you, God will support you," said Reynaldo Carillo of the Jesus Is Our Shield ministries.

Carillo also said Villanueva should not have joined politics since he had a religious calling.

Addressing Villanueva, Carillo said, "itís about time you humble yourself. In the first place, you should not have joined politics. You were called for the Bible and not politics."

While Carillo told Villanueva that "itís not our intention to malign you," he reminded the BPM standard-bearer that he is not a "prophet" sent by God to the Philippines.

Carillo urged Villanueva to "shake hands" with President Arroyo and "show a good testimony," even as he said that, before the elections, God had "whispered" to his group that Mrs. Arroyo would win the May 10 presidential race.

Norberto Mercado, a bishop from the umbrella group Prayer Shield for the Statesmen of the Nations, also advised the faithful to be wary of joining protest rallies in the guise of prayer vigils. Villanueva last week convened a prayer rally, where he complained of the lack of credibility in the vote count.

"We urge the members (of the faithful) not to be hoodwinked by so-called Christian leaders who urge them to join street protests in the guise of prayer rallies," Mercado said. ó Delon Porcalla


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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