Apr 152013
Malacañang on Monday urged voters in next month’s midterm elections to consider that candidates are more than a single issue, following El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde’s endorsement of several senatoriables.

“He focused only [on] a single issue and I think each candidate is more than a single issue,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a briefing.

Velarde, an influential and charismatic religious leader, has announced that his group supports six candidates who have opposed the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which President Benigno Aquino III signed into law December last year.

Of the six, three — Sen. Koko Pimentel, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar — are from the Liberal Party-led coalition. The other three — San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, Sen. Gringo Honasan, and Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay — are from the opposition United Nationalist Coalition.

Lacierda reminded the public that when elected, senators will have to tackle a wide array of issues, and as such, voters should look at the complete package.
“You also have to look at their different advocacies. And it’s their right, if they want to endorse a candidate based on a single issue. But does it better the people that you’re going to elect? That’s a big question if you’re going to focus only on one issue,” he said.

The so called White Vote Coalition initiated by the Council of the Laity of the Philippines include El Shaddai, Couples for Christ–Foundation for Family and Life, Catholic Women’s League, Focolare Movement, and Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon.

However, Lacierda said the administration wasn’t convinced that the position taken by White Vote reflects the sentiments of the entire Catholic Church, adding that in a statement, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Soc Villegas urged Church leaders to avoid endorsing candidates.
“Pangasinan Bishop Soc Villegas disagrees with the position taken by the White Vote. So, obviously, there is no single main position taken by the Catholic hierarchy,” he said.

The Philippines is the largest Catholic country in Asia, with 80 percent of the population belonging to the religion. — Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK, GMA News

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