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‘INFLUENTIAL’ 5 Church-endorsed senatorial candidates make it to Top 12

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By EUGENE ADIONG

BACOLOD City — Five of the six senatorial candidates endorsed by the Catholic Church here made it to the Top 12 winners — a proof of the Church’s power over the people, a prelate said.

They were JV Ejercito Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes IV and Cynthia Villar.

The five, together with Mitos Magsaysay, have been listed under “Team Buhay” of the Diocese of Bacolod.

The result was enough to make Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra happy.

“The people really responded well,” Navarra said. “We made and raised the consciousness of the people.”

The elections’ result, the bishop said, proved that the Catholic Church indeed has influence over the people.

Months before the mid-term elections Monday last week, the Diocese hanged in front of the San Sebastian Cathedral here a tarpaulin enumerating the senatorial candidates who it thinks the public should vote and not vote.

It placed Estrada, Honasan, Pimentel, Trillanes, Villar and Mitos Magsaysay under “Team Buhay” for opposing the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which is now a law.

On the other hand, it placed under “Team Patay” Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Risa Hontiveros, Jackie Enrile, Teddy Casiño and Juan Edgardo Angara.

These lawmakers, the Diocese said, were supporters of the RH bill and thus should not be elected to the Senate.

All those under Team Buhay have been elected except for Mitos Magsaysay, who only ranked 21st in the final tally of the Commission on Elections.

Ejercito Estrada ranked 11th; Honasan ranked 12th; Pimentel, eighth; Trillanes, ninth; and Villar, 10th.

On the other hand, four of the Team Patay candidates made it to the Top 12 — with flying colors. Legarda ranked second; Escudero, third; Cayetano, fourth; and Angara, sixth. The others lagged behind — Hontiveros ranked 17th; Enrile, 15th; and Casiño, 22nd.

All the winning senators, including Grace Poe (first), Nancy Binay (fifth) and Bam Aquino (seventh), have been proclaimed.

Meanwhile, winners in the recently concluded mid-term elections should unite for the good of the people, Bishop Navarra said.

“They should set aside partisan politics and work together,” he said. “They should reconcile and unite.”

Navarra also said the newly elected officials should focus on uplifting the lives of the poor, and help the Church educate them./PN