Lay leaders endorse 10 ‘servant-leaders’ for Senate

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MANILA – An inter-faith group of lay leaders endorsed 10 senatorial candidates it believes will be "servant-leaders," its chairman said Wednesday.

These candidates are men and women "of character, of integrity" and "will seek power not for themselves, but to help people," said Ricky Xavier, Chairman of People's Choice Movement.

The pre-requisites are that they believe in God and are against charter change, which will "create more division in our country," said Xavier.

The list included the 8 candidates of the Otso Diretso opposition slate–Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, Mar Roxas and Erin Tañada–former lawmaker Neri Colmenares and incumbent Sen. Grace Poe.

"We will actively campaign for them. We will ask people to consider them as people who are servant-leaders, who have the desire to help our country and pull us out of poverty," Xavier told ANC's Early Edition.

The roster excluded candidates who are corrupt and are members of political dynasties, which is "one of the major causes of corruption and the poverty of our nation," he said.

The lineup, chosen by about 100 leaders of various Catholic, Protestant and evangelical groups, highlighted "what is the most important thing that we need to do or address in our country today," and did not necessarily reflect candidates' stance on contentious issues such as divorce and same-sex union, he said.

"There are more important issues at this time. Those things about SOGIE or divorce, are issues that can be resolved and they are not major issues," he said.

"They may not be supported by the Catholic Church, but we are not speaking for the Catholic Church, we are speaking for the lay Catholics and Christians," he added.

Former Sen. Serge Osmeña and labor leader Leody De Guzman almost made it to the list that would have completed the 12-person slate, but the group wanted their members to select 2 candidates on their own, said Xavier. The group will not impose on their members this exact slate, he added.

Twelve Senate seats are up for grabs in the May 13 elections. Candidates fielded by the administration make up most of the winning circle according to recent preference surveys.

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