Iglesia ni Cristo picks Aquino-Roxas, El Shaddai expected to back Villar

In a country where the separation of Church and State seems blurry, religion still plays a big part in people's choice of candidates.   This is why the Iglesia ni Cristo's official announcement of their support for presidentiable Noynoy Aquino and running mate Mar Roxas was met with much fanfare, GMANews.TV reports.

Citing a report from Unang Balita, the news segment on GMA-7's morning show Unang Hirit, GMANews.tv revealed that the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) local church in Quezon City announced its decision at a liturgical service around 4:45 a.m today. The INC, which, according to the report, has over two million members, is "one of the country's most coveted command votes."   The report also pointed out that the INC backed the country's last two winning presidential aspirants: Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

This should give a boost to Aquino's presidential bid.   For his part, Roxas had already gotten the endorsement of another religious leader, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the religious group Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC).   However, the Davao-based Quiboloy, who, according to a GMANews.TV article, claims to have three million registered voters in his congregation, endorsed Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro for president.

Meanwhile, GMANews.TV states that the El Shaddai religious group will wait until this Saturday, May 8, to announce whom it will support in the May 10 elections. Pundits say that the group's leader, Mariano "Mike" Velarde, may be leaning towards presidentiable Manny Villar. "We've known each other for so long but it doesn't mean that I'm already endorsing him," Velarde said referring to Villar. "But of course, he has the advantage because I know him personally."

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