Bro. Mike Velarde Says Odds of Running Now Down

El Shaddai spiritual leader Mariano “Bro. Mike “Velarde remained non-committal about his supposed political plans during the charismatic group’s 25th anniversary celebration at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, which was attended by around 170,000 at its peak Saturday night and the affair stretching until early Sunday.

Velarde explained that, so far, the most compelling reason why he is still hesitant about entering politics is his family, who is apparently against it.

"Hati sila. May gusto, may ayaw," Velarde said. - MB

Born in Caramoran, Catanduanes, he attended University of the East, Manila where he received a degree in geodetic engineering. With a company bonus, he started buying land and developing residential subdivisions south of the city. He did well until 1983, when political turmoil sent the Philippine economy into a tailspin and went bankrupt.

By 1986 his debts, which he had used to finance land purchases, had grown to $8 million. After a recovery from a heart ailment in 1978, he started a weekly Bible-quoting radio show on DWXI, a station he acquired in 1982 as part of a real estate deal. He then held monthly prayer rallies outside the vicinity of the radio station. Since then, his church has grown rapidly.

Velarde's son Rene Velarde representing the Buhay party, is the richest party-list congressman with a net worth of P30.9 million.