MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay paid a courtesy call on Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) executive minister Eduardo Manalo on Thursday, April 21.
The 101-year-old church’s Eagle News reported that the United Nationalist Alliance standard-bearer met with Manalo “as he sought the INC’s endorsement for the May 2016 elections.”
“Humingi po ako ng tulong. Dumudulog po ako rito na sana ay masuportahan ako ng kapatiran, (I came here to ask for help. I came here hoping that the brethren would support me),” Binay was quoted as saying.
Binay and Manalo met at the Bulwagan of the INC Central Office, where Manalo also had a meeting with the ruling Liberal Party’s presidential bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on April 19.
Another presidential candidate, Senator Grace Poe, earlier met with the INC’s political affairs chief Eraño Codera.
Binay’s communications director said the Vice President’s meeting with Manalo was “an opportunity for the VP to share his vision for the country with Ka Eduardo.”
“The Vice President is humbled by the opportunity extended by INC executive minister Ka Eduardo Manalo to discuss his programs to lift the poor from poverty and build a compassionate, caring, and competent government,” said Joey Salgado.
The INC is known for its bloc-voting. Around 2.6% of the voting population, or 1.37 million of around 52 million Filipino voters, belong to the church. (READ: How potent is the INC’s vote delivery system?)
The last 3 presidential candidates endorsed by the INC – Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III – won. (INFOGRAPHIC: What you should know about the Iglesia ni Cristo)
The organization, however, faced its worst crisis last year as ministers alleged corruption and abuse of power from within the church. The controversy has reached the courts, with expelled members and the church leadership filing charges against each other.
When the INC staged mass protests in August 2015, both Binay and Poe said the church members were just “defending their faith” against the justice department’s supposed mishandling of the case.
Roxas, meanwhile, told the Iglesia leaders that their right to protest does not mean they should impinge on other people’s rights. The INC’s rallies in Manila and along EDSA caused major traffic jams in Metro Manila. – Rappler.com