INC campaigning vs Leila de Lima?
Iglesia Ni Cristo leaders have reportedly demanded that local candidates remove the former justice secretary in their sample ballots, in exchange for the sect's coveted endorsement

DE LIMA EFFIGY. Protestors shout 'De Lima, sasayaw na!' during a protest vigil along EDSA in the evening of August 28, 2015. Photo by Pat Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Iglesia ni Cristo is reportedly waging a silent but potentially lethal war against the senatorial bid of former justice secretary Leila de Lima.

Sources in the Liberal Party said on Thursday, May 5, that INC leaders have reportedly demanded that local candidates remove De Lima in their sample ballots, in exchange for the sect’s coveted endorsement.

De Lima was expectedly not in the INC sample ballot distributed to its members as she had a run-in with the leaders of the sect and its flock in August last year, after expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr filed an illegal detention case against INC leaders before the Department of Justice.

She said then that her department would pursue the case, which the INC regarded as “meddling” in its affairs.

The anger of the INC flock against De Lima was further fueled by allegations that she would have their leaders arrested, even when there was no prosecutor assigned to the case yet.

It culminated in a protest rally initially in Manila, and then in EDSA, demanding an end to the investigation of INC leaders. In that rally, INC followers mocked De Lima and chanted, “Why, why, why De Lima?” to the tune of “Why, why, why, Delilah?” (READ: Why De Lima is target of Iglesia ni Cristo anger)

The 5-day rally ended after the INC reached an “understanding” with the Aquino administration, which the government said, had nothing to do with the case or De Lima.

De Lima had announced her senatorial bid at the time, which INC members had vowed to block. She is running under the Liberal Party coalition.

INC senatorial candidates

Based on a sample ballot obtained by Rappler, the INC is backing the following senatorial candidates:

INC'S LIST. A sample ballot obtained by Rappler shows senatorial candidates being endorsed by the church. Photo sourced by Rappler

Among the INC’s reported senatorial candidates, Romualdez and Tolentino are not in the probable winners’ circle, based on the latest ABS-CBN survey conducted by Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated. Romualdez is currently ranked 15th to 17th places, and Tolentino, 14th to 17th places.

De Lima is currently in 7th-12th places.

The INC has endorsed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr as its presidential and vice presidential candidates. –