Church group reveals picks

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Monday, May 6, 2013

CEBU CITY -- Three incumbent congressmen and five members of Cebu’s prominent political families have won the endorsement of a church-based group organized for the May 13 elections.

The Lay Initiatives for Elections (Life) 2013 also endorsed 12 candidates, six of them from the main opposition group United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer of Life 2013 also said they recently decided to support Representative Pablo John Garcia for Cebu governor and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama for his reelection campaign.


Life held a prayer rally Sunday night in Cebu City’s Plaza Independencia.

Pro-life group’s candidates
FOR LIFE.  Candidates endorsed by the Lay Initiatives For Elections (Life) 2013 light candles during a prayer rally in Cebu City’s Plaza Independencia. Among them are (from left) Cebu gubernatorial candidate Rep. Pablo John Garcia, reelectionist Rep. Pablo Garcia, Senate candidate JV Ejercito, Cebu third district congressional candidate and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Senate candidate Dick Gordon, former Manila mayor Lito Atienza, and Cebu City north congressional district candidate Raul del Mar. (Sun.Star Cebu photo/Arni Aclao)

For the Cebu congressional elections, they endorsed: Samsam Gullas (first district), Representative Pablo Garcia (second district), Governor Gwendolyn Garcia (third district), Representative Benhur Salimbangon (fourth district), Ace Durano (fifth district), Representative Luigi Quisumbing (sixth district), Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district), and Aileen Radaza of the lone district of Lapu-Lapu City.

Bullecer said Life 2013 will “galvanize its efforts” to push for a Catholic vote in next Monday’s election.

“Perhaps we can influence the swing votes,” Bullecer said.

For the Senate seats, the group chose to endorse: Mitos Magsaysay, Gregorio Honasan, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Richard Gordon, and Juan Miguel Zubiri of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA); Antonio Trillanes, Cynthia Villar and Koko Pimentel of Team PNoy; Christian Señeres of the Democratic Party of the Philippines; and JC delos Reyes and Atty. Marwill Llasos of Kapatiran Party.

For the party-list elections, Life 2013 endorsed Buhay, Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, and Ang Prolife.

Voters may vote for only one party-list organization, and the group has to win at least two percent of all the party-list votes cast in order to gain a seat in the House of Representatives. Each party may win a maximum of three seats.

Before Sunday’s official announcement, a mass was officiated by a dozen priests headed by Bishop Emilio Bataclan.

Life 2013 said they will distribute about 2.5 million sample ballots in the Visayas containing the names of the Senate and local candidates they are endorsing.

Of the 12 Senate candidates they endorsed, Zubiri, Villar, Gordon, and Ejercito were present, while relatives represented the rest.

Ejercito said the endorsement from Life 2013 will boost his candidacy.

“I studied in Catholic schools in the elementary and high school, and I have always been pro-life and pro-family all my life,” Ejercito said.

Zubiri said the Catholic endorsement may also prevent surveys from conditioning the minds of voters.

Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, said he is happy that the Catholic-based organization is supporting his candidacy for senator.

“We are against the Reproductive Health Law, which is aimed at cutting population growth. Population is not an excuse for failure. The government must not stop the population from growing. The government must invest in education, invest in people. Look at India and China, which have billions in population but are progressive,” Gordon said.

Villar said she is happy to be endorsed by Catholic organizations.

“I am grateful for that (endorsement). If elected as senator, I will work hard to review the RH Law and prevent the passage of the divorce bill,” Villar said. (EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 06, 2013.

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