MANILA, August 19, 2012— Some prominent politicians attended the El Shaddai’s 28th anniversary celebration yesterday.
About a million of El Shaddai followers attended the occasion at the Amvel Park in Parañaque to also grace the advance birthday celebration of the group’s leader, Bro. Mike Velarde.
Among the politicians include Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, a known long-time friend of Velarde.
Some believe that the El Shaddai plays a major role in Philippine politics. Reports said the religious group has eight to ten million members, although there is no official record to back this figure.
During elections, Velarde’s endorsement is strongly sought by politicians due to the group’s huge membership, most of whom follow his choice.
Binay earlier admitted that he is planning to run for president in 2016 even as he stressed that it is too early to talk about elections.
Estrada also confirmed that he is running for Manila mayor in 2013.
Velarde, who is turning 73 on August 20, recently said that he would not endorse politicians who are supporting the controversial population control measure called reproductive health (RH) bill.
“Long live El Shaddai and also to Bro. Mike Velarde who will be celebrating his birthday,” Binay said.
For his part, Estrada said: “Every anniversary for the last 10 years since I was still a senator, I always attend this celebration because Bro. Mike is a good friend of mine.”
Both Binay and Estrada said they were invited to attend the celebration and there were no discussions about politics and other issues like the RH bill.
Catholic bishops who also graced the occasion were Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, and Bishops Jesse Mercado of Paranaque, Deogracias Iñiguez of Caloocan, Ruperto Santos of Balanga and Teodoro Bacani, El Shaddai’s spiritual adviser. [CBCPNews]