TWO-MILLION members of the Iglesia ni Cristo will troop to the voting centers on Monday to vote for the Duterte-Marcos tandem and their 12 senatorial candidates in “unconditional and absolute obedience,” an Iglesia member said Friday.
“We are voting as one. That is the very primary foundation of the INC: Unity. No one can ever break that. Not even the government can break that,” said former Alagad Rep. Rodante Marcoleta who is now the first nominee of the 1Sagip 102 party-list group.
“The members will follow the leadership’s choice of [Davao City Mayor Rodrigo] Duterte and [Senator Ferdinand] Marcos Jr. That’s doctrinal and absolute obedience.”
Marcoleta made his statement even as Malacañang on Friday said it recognized the Iglesia’s endorsement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., saying this was the essence of democracy.
“We recognize the right of organizations to express who they want to support because that is the essence of democracy,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
Marcoleta said the INC leadership imposes the “doctrine” of moving and voting as one on religious and even political issues, but that it decides first on what is best for the country and secondly what is best for the interest of its members.
Political analyst Dindo Manhit said that while the INC had been dragged down by controversy over corruption, the leadership was able to consolidate its forces and succeeded in having its members block Edsa to protest the Department of Justice’s “selective and haphazard” filing of illegal detention cases against its leadership last year.
The week-long protest ended with a meeting in Malacañang between President Benigno Aquino III and the INC leadership. The barricade was lifted with the leadership not offering any explanation but simply sending out the words “All is well that ends well.”
Marcoleta described the members who had broken away from the INC as disgruntled.
Manhit said the critics of Marcos and his cousin, senatorial candidate Martin Romualdez, made it appear that the INC was not united because some members were opposing their endorsement.
“Historically, the INC recognizes its deep ties with the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. that helped the members of the INC during his stint as President,” Manhit said.
“Bongbong [Marcos Jr.] now continues the same treatment of helping out not only the poor INC members but also the poorest of the poor nationwide. That’s important to the INC hierarchy.”
Manhit said the INC members did not take against the son all the vilification being thrown at the Marcos family.
As to Romualdez, Manhit said the demographics or composition of the majority of the INC membership identified well with Romualdez’s advocacy of bringing back “malasakit [compassion]” in governance, particularly for the poor.
Said Marcoleta: “The INC members know that by acting and voting as one, we can achieve what is best for the country and for the Church. Regardless of who wins, it is incumbent upon us that we have spoken in one voice and we have proven to the world that we can make a difference. Without unity, the INC cannot be considered a force to be reckoned with.”
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