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MANILA, Philippines – The Iglesia ni Cristo distributed sample ballots to its members on Saturday, May 12, identifying its chosen senatorial candidates.
7 of them come from Team PNoy — Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Antonio Trillanes, and Cynthia Villar. The 5 are from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) — Nancy Binay, Jack Enrile, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Richard Gordon, and Gregorio Honasan II.
The sample ballot also lists several local candidates in the province of Cavite, including Juanito Victor Remulla who is running for governor under the Lakas party and mayoral candidate Emmanuel Maliksi under the Liberal Party (LP).
Remulla is running against Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi, the father of Emmanuel Maliksi. INC is not endorsing Maliksi’s father.
For the 3rd District of Cavite, the ballot recommends Alex Advincula (LP).
The sample ballot was given separately to INC church members after their church service on Saturday, May 12.
The INC boasts of an estimated 1.3 million voters and is known to vote as a bloc. Some estimates are even higher at 3 million voters.
INC’s bloc votes matter in national posts where it can affect the ranking in the senatorial or presidential polls. In a tight race, it is said to be capable of making a difference.
In local elections where the posts are lower and the locality smaller, an INC endorsement may not be as significant.
There are many examples of local candidates who’ve won without the INC endorsement, these include Grace Padaca, Strike Revilla and Jonvic Remulla in 2010.
Richard Gomez, Lucy Torres get INC nod
Celebrity couple Richard and Lucy Torres-Gomez, and the rest of the local LP slate received the endorsement from the local leaders of the INC on Sunday, May 12. Lucy is running for Congress, while Richard is seeking a mayoral post.
The INC decision comes a day before voters choose between the Gomezes and the entrenched political families of the Codillas and Larrazabals in Ormoc.
INC says they have about 8,000 voters in Ormoc City, a 1st class city which has total of 91,000 registered voters.
Lucy Torres-Gomez is seeking re-election as the representative of Leyte’s 4th district. Challenging her for the seat is incumbent Ormoc City Mayor Eric Codilla (LAKAS-Kampi-CMD) who is on his final term.
If she wins, it will be a fresh first term for Lucy, as the Supreme Court declared she could not replace her husband, Richard, in his failed bid for a congressional seat in the 2010 polls.
Richard Gomez is running for mayor of Ormoc city against Edward Codilla. Macoy Larrazabal (PMP) and Dominador Tan, Jr.
Richard and Lucy have been paying visits to INC since January, according to a member of the church.
In the 2010 elections, the INC supported the Liberal Party and its standardbearer, now President Benigno Aquino III.
According to the Philippine Entertainment Portal, Richard Gomez is set to portray INC founder Felix Manalo in a 2014 biopic, in time for the church’s centennial anniversary. The actor, however, denied any political motives behind his acceptance of the role.
Meanwhile, in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija the INC sample ballots showed chosen local officials — among them, Cherry Umali for the 3rd district of Congress, her husband Aurelio “Oyie” Umali (LP) for governor, and Rianne Cuevas for mayor.
The Umalis are pitted against the Josons who are affiliated with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, and who have wielded power over the province for many years. – with reports from Tricia Villaluz, Jed A. Cortes, and Anthony Esguerra/Rappler.com
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