Buhay Party-list board member and legal counsel Melchor Monsod has debunked the claims of disgruntled former board members that the party had abandoned Deputy Speaker and BUHAY party-list Founder Lito Atienza.
“We were hoping not to discuss this matter publicly,” Monsod said in a statement Saturday after the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai reportedly severed ties with Atienza’s pro-life group.
In the letter signed by former Reps. Rene del Monte Velarde and Michael del Monte Velarde Jr., second nominee for the 18th Congress and secretary general of the pro-life party-list group, respectively, it said the Velarde group expressed its resentment over Atienza’s alleged refusal to honor an agreement he had with the El Shaddai leader in connection with the placement of Buhay nominees for the 2022 party-list election.
The Velardes are sons of evangelist Mike Z. Velarde, servant leader and founder of El Shaddai Ministry.
But Atienza’s camp dismissed it as “fake news.”
“But since the fake news and unsigned poison letter keep coming out as allegedly coming from people identifying themselves as the sons of Bro. Mike Velarde, it is now time to tell the truth so the public may know exactly what happened. Obviously, these are destructive accusations which we are now forced to clarify,” Monsod said.
Monsod clarified that there was never an assurance or guarantee that the number 1 nominee of BUHAY Party-list would always be Bro. Mike’s choice.
But when his two sons were given the chance to be the party’s congressmen for three full terms each, Monsod said in a statement, it was only through Congressman Lito Atienza’s goodwill as the founder.
“This was at the time when Cong. Atienza was the Mayor of Manila.”
“Congressman Atienza has been Buhay’s torchbearer for the past three Congresses. He founded Buhay Party-list and Buhay Party-list is Atienza.
“We, the legitimate Board members, are in full support of Buhay’s advocacies and principles, as well as Congressman Atienza and his running mate Senator Manny Pacquiao.”