TV running mate trips crusading candidate

Forget Christianity. Televangelist Eddie Villanueva is converting Philippine masses to a different cause — his run for the presidency.

Villanueva, head of born-again Christian group the Jesus Is Lord Movement and owner of Christian broadcasting network Zoe, is challenging incumbent prexy Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and five other candidates for the job.

But just days before the May 10 vote, Villanueva’s campaign is hitting a snag.

Villanueva’s partner in Zoe, businessman Benito Araneta, owner of Entertainment Network (Enter-net), has stirred controversy with claims that Villanueva is refusing to honor the terms of their contract in the joint venture.

Tasked to make Zoe financially viable, Enter-net agreed to market the programs, pay Zoe $18 million goodwill and advance the station’s operating expenses. Enter-net also agreed to pay Zoe’s $18,000 monthly costs and put up a company called Dot Entertainment to run the network, with Enter-net and Zoe owning 60% and 40%, respectively.

The Manila Times reports Enter-net paid Villanueva at least $545,000 in goodwill, but Villanueva has refused to turn over control of the network.

Villanueva reportedly wants Enter-net to up the goodwill coin tenfold and the monthly payments to $54,545. He also is demanding a 10% tithe on gross profits.

So much for spirituality.

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