Aglipayan group hits Duterte, endorses 10 Senate bets

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Aglipayan group hits Duterte, endorses 10 Senate bets

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'We must not stand by as democracy is murdered,' say 150 bishops, priests, and laypersons of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or the Aglipayan Church

MANILA, Philippines – A group of 150 leaders and members of the Aglipayan Church endorsed 10 senatorial candidates, as the Aglipayans rejected President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged plan “to impose complete control over the Senate.”

The group, which calls itself the Church People for an Independent Senate, supports the following opposition and independent bets:

1. Bam Aquino
2. Nancy Binay
3. Neri Colmenares
4. Chel Diokno
5. Samira Gutoc
6. Leody de Guzman
7. Florin Hilbay
8. Serge Osmeña
9. Grace Poe
10. Erin Tañada  

The group is composed of bishops, priests, and laypersons of the Aglipayan Church, formally called the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. 

In a statement, the Aglipayan church members described the Senate as “our last safeguard against authoritarian rule.”

They also cited 4 major issues under Duterte’s watch – China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea, the “brazen disregard for life” in Duterte’s war on drugs, efforts to amend the charter, and “the disablement of the people’s inherent right to assemble and protest.”

“The President now seeks to impose complete control over the Senate through creative maneuverings, and people of faith must not stand down. We must take up this crusade against his immoral attempts to monopolize political clout. We must not allow power to be concentrated in the hands of only one person,” the group said.

“We must not stand by as democracy is murdered,” it added.

The Church People for an Independent Senate said their endorsement of 10 candidates is not a pledge of allegiance to any political party or group. “As people of faith, this break from tradition is an unequivocal expression of faith in these dangerous times,” they said. 

This comes as more religious groups seek to endorse candidates, in the face of Duterte’s tirades against God and the Catholic Church. Earlier, a group of Catholic and Christian lay leaders also endorsed senatorial candidates for the May 13 polls – all candidates of the opposition slate Otso Diretso, along with two others. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com