Bro. Eddie is the personification of what a servant-leader is.
His life, spanning over six decades, has been fully devoted to seeking and pursuing the good of others. As a youth, he led the student sector in fighting the abuses of a regime gearing itself for a martial rule. As a patriot, he was among those who fought martial law and consequently, was jailed twice for championing the cause of the victims of land-grabbing. As a professor, he mentored economics students in the country’s pioneering school of commerce. As a pastor, he took care of hurting and wounded people and led them into the loving goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As President of Bangon Pilipinas Party he relentlessly pursues national transformation.
Ups and downs
Bro. Eddie’s growing up years were also the Philippines’ most dramatic ups and downs. He was born on October 6, 1946, a year after the Second World War ended and the country was beginning its reconstruction. The time called for national unity. And the country asked for a sense of greatness among all Filipinos to be able to regain the hope and dignity which the war took away. Filipinos responded to the call of the time with conviction. The reconstruction years therefore became a time of unity and collective greatness for the Filipinos.
National unity, greatness, hope and dignity – these were values that naturally embed themselves into the character of the young Bro. Eddie.
Those years led to the advancement of the Philippines in political, social and economic spheres. The Philippines was even a leading nation-state in Southeast Asia.
Towards the end of the 60s, the gains of the reconstruction years began to crumble as social unrest led to economic woes for the country. Corruption, abuses and injustices brought people to the streets for demonstrations. The student sector quickly organized itself and was constantly present in massive demonstrations. Bro. Eddie was the Philippine College of Commerce’s leading student activist. That early, he made a mark as a student patriot.
Even before Bro. Eddie graduated from college, he was asked to join the College’s Faculty of Economics and Finance. From 1969 to 1972, he taught political economy and made a mark as a progressive professor, teaching the students not only what the books say but also what could be learned from actual Philippine experiences.
On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. It was a down moment in Philippine history.
During the martial law years, Bro. Eddie left the academe and joined the labor movement to help in consolidating its force against oppression. At times, he would also extend assistance to farmers who came to ask for help. By then, he was already taking up law at the University of the Philippines. His law background effectively enabled him to help in these causes. However, law studies had to give way for life in prison. Bro. Eddie was jailed twice for helping the victims of land-grabbing in his native land, Bulacan.
His close interaction with the marginalized and the oppressed in these depressing years gave him a ringside view of injustice and poverty. To him, only the word “abject” could best describe the situation of such victims.
To his mind, the dignity of these oppressed people could only be given back to them through a bloody revolution. But at the height of his agitation against human rights abuses and violations, he himself would experience a revolution – spiritual, that is. In 1977, as he was agonizing to search for the best way to emancipate the Filipino people from abject poverty, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal Savior. As he began to know Jesus deeper, Bro. Eddie trusted His love and His power to bring about changes in the plight of the Filipino.
In 1978, he founded the Jesus Is Lord Fellowship, a non-sectarian Bible-based Christian ministry. He led a pioneering massive evangelism in the Philippines and preached about the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ. His message of hope resounded across the country. 34 years hence, the JIL Fellowship has successfully evolved into the JIL Church Worldwide that has over 4 million membership all over the Philippines and 55 other countries.
Righteousness and governance
Bro. Eddie would always say that one cannot love God without loving the nation. Because God loves people.
His long experience as a political activist harmonizes well with one of his favorite passages in the Bible, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 13:4)
His influence in the political sphere, specifically in governance, was proven by his eminent role as spiritual adviser not only to former Presidents, but also to former and current politicians and bureaucrats. His advice always centered on good governance. When leaders divert from this principle and become incorrigible, Bro. Eddie would then boldly speak on the wrong-doing, call for change and then pray for the nation.
To him, righteousness and good governance are inseparable.