MANILA, Philippines -- A Catholic priest who serves as governor of the Philippine province of Pampanga has declared he is running for president of the country in the May 2010 election.
"I have every intention to file my candidacy," Father Eddie Panlilio told reporters at a weekly forum organized in Manila by Catholic media groups July 21, according to the Asian church news agency UCA News.
The priest turned politician, who is currently on leave from his religious ministry, also announced his plan to apply for a dispensation from the priesthood before filing his certificate of candidacy prior to the Nov. 30 deadline.
"I'm ready for all the consequences," Panlilio said. "This priesthood that I love so much I'm willing to give up for a greater love and that's love for the country," said the 55-year-old priest of the San Fernando archdiocese in Pampanga.
"I'm doing this not for me, not for myself," he explained. "I felt God wanted me to go on a higher service.
"For me the heart of priesthood is accepting the love of God and working for other people, especially the poor," he added.