Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bro. Eddie Villanueva

Eduardo "Eddie" Villanueva (born October 6, 1946) is a religious and political leader in the Philippines. He was a presidential candidate in the 2004 Philippine election. He lost the election to incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and placed last in a field of five candidates, with 6.2% of the vote.

He is the owner and chairman of ZOE Broadcasting Network, a commercial TV station currently operated by GMA Network through Quality TeleVision (QTV). He is also the owner and president of Jesus Is Lord Colleges Foundation Inc. (JILCF), a christian school in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Eddie Villanueva as a religious leader

In 1978, Eddie Villanueva founded the Jesus is Lord Church formerly named Jesus is Lord Fellowship, which started with just eight members. He now claims that JIL now has some seven million members with branches in Asia, Europe and North America.

Brother Eddie received the Gintong Ama (Golden Father) award for Socio-Civic/Religious Sector from the Golden Mother and Father Foundation in June 1996. He was also voted Pastor of the Year in a 1998 worldwide search conducted by Dr. George Otis' High Adventure Ministries. The Ministries broadcasts the Voice of Hope program in 72 countries.

Villanueva was ordained Minister of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979 by the California-based Victory in Christ Church and International Ministries. He has also been conferred the office of Episcopacy by the Sectarian Body of Christ in the Philippines in April 1996.

In February 2001, Brother Eddie received the EDSA People Power Freedom Award for ZOE TV 11 for its fair coverage of the People Power II movement. He founded and owns ZOE Broadcasting Network Inc. and operates Channel 11 on Filipino television. Bro. Eddie hosts three ZOE programs, Diyos at Bayan, PJM (Philippines for Jesus Movement) Forum and Jesus The Healer.

Eddie Villanueva's Personal Background

Eduardo "Eddie" Villanueva, founder of Jesus is Lord Movement, was born in Bocaue, Bulacan, on October 6, 1946. He is married to Adoracion "Dory" Villanueva and they have four children. His eldest son, Eduardo Jr. lost when he ran for mayor in his hometown of Bocaue, Bulacan in 2004. His other son Joel is a congressman.

In 1969, he graduated with a degree in Commerce, majoring in Economics, from the Philippine College of Commerce, which has since been renamed as the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

He took up law at the University of the Philippines but "was sidelined by activism and never had time to take the bar [examination]."

He worked as a full-time faculty member in the Economics and Finance Department of PCC until 1972. He then worked as the export manager of Maran Export Industries in 1973 and from 1976 to 1977, he was the general manager of the Agape Trading Co. He returned to PUP in 1978 as a part-time professor.

Eddie Villanueva the Politician

Eddie Villanueva's campaign in the 2004 Philippine presidential election never went unnoticed because he was the only candidate with a very strong religious identity as he is, as noted above, the founder and senior bishop of the Jesus Is Lord International, an independent pentecostal group that has branches in Asia, Europe, and America. He campaigns on the claim that he is the only moral candidate for president, and that he has a program to eradicate corruption and restore morality in government. His campaigns carried both religious and political colors with the "V" finger sign representing Dios at Bayan (God and Nation).

He was the only presidential candidate who was claimed to have gathered an audience of millions in one place, making his campaign subject to arguments as to just what was the exact number of person who attended. In his Quirino grandstand campaign, his supporters claimed that they reached 3 million, but the conservative estimates of the police and security forces was only 600 thousand. This was followed by another major political rally at Ayala Avenue in Makati City where his supporters claimed the crowd reached 100,000 but the policemen estimated it to be only 10,000. His last grand campaign was done four days before the election at the Luneta Park and they claimed they reached five million in the crowd, but the national television news programs covered the event saying the crowd reached million (without giving the exact unit).

He was the only presidential candidate who did not spend much during his campaigns as most, if not all of the campaign materials, including television advertisements were donated by his followers. His campaigns called for an alternative leadership, which he called righteous leadership based on a certain Biblical passage that says, "Righteousness exalts a nation."

Because of his religious identity he was accused of running for the presidency because of his religious interest and detractors stated that if elected his main goal would be converting the nation to Pentecostalism, a charge unlikely to be ignored in the Philippines, the third-largest Roman Catholic country in the world. Stories of campaign sermons being made against Villanueva by prominent leaders of major religious groups like the Iglesia Ni Cristo, El Shaddai, and even the Roman Catholic Church were also spread at that time, although proof of the existence of such sermons occurring to any wide extent was never offered.

Villanueva's campaigns were marked with persuasion, praying, spontaneity of words, crowd singing (a carry over of the pentecostals' Praise & Worship practice) and celebrity supporters. Among them were Connie Reyes, Karla Martinez, Piolo Pascual, Garry Valenciano, Donita Rose, Yoyoy Villame, Nonoy Zunega, Jeremias Jangad, Christian Bautista, and many others.

These elements made his campaign distinct from the others, but certainly did not translate into much success at the ballot box.

When he lost the election, a lot of his followers were disappointed with him because it took him so long to concede victory to the elected incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, despite his having run so far behind. So many followers expected that his reaction would be totally different from the other politicians but to many he was seen to be singing the same melody with them.

A former supporter of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he has turned into one of her most rabid critics after the election. Until now, he remains to be one of the visible figures of the opposition side, who calls for the resignation of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for alleged election fraud and corruption. He, along with his son Joel, a party list representative, are dubbed by some detractors as "selfish" and "sore losers", who use their followers for selfish interests. His solid supporters of course deny such accusation.