MANILA, Philippines – Two weeks before the May 9 elections, presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago met with Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo on Wednesday, April 27.
INC’s online news site Eagle News reported that Santiago made a courtesy call on the head of the block-voting sect on Wednesday. This was a day after her running mate, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, was invited for an early morning meeting with Manalo.
Santiago was the last presidential candidate to visit Manalo.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II went to the INC’s central office along Commonwealth Avenue last week. Senator Grace Poe and running mate Senator Francis Escudero met with Manalo on Monday, April 25.
The senator, at the bottom of pre-election surveys, has not been very active in her campaign. She took a long break last month when she participated in a drug trial of a cancer-fighting medicine abroad, but returned to the campaign trail early this month.
Santiago has been more visible to the public as she conducts more frequent speaking engagements in universities. She also attended the last presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections, where she said that she had no plan to withdraw from the race.
Robredo at INC
Eagle News also reported that administration vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo paid a courtesy call on Manalo on Wednesday.
Robredo’s toughest rival, Marcos, is being rumored as the INC’s choice for vice president, as it was Manalo who invited him to a meeting. The other national candidates set an appointment with the INC leader.
Among the senatorial candidates, those who have sought the endorsement of the INC leader were former justice secretary Leila De Lima, former Manila Metropolitan Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino, former Akbayan party list representative Risa Hontiveros, former TESDA chief Joel Villanueva and Senator Vicente Sotto III.
The INC is known for its command votes. Its members include an estimated 1 million registered voters. – Rappler.com