Roxas meets with Iglesia ni Cristo's Manalo

STILL A POWER BLOC? The Iglesia ni Cristo's main headquarters in Quezon City. File photo by Rappler

STILL A POWER BLOC? The Iglesia ni Cristo's main headquarters in Quezon City.

File photo by Rappler

LEYTE, Philippines – The ruling party’s presidential candidate, Manuel Roxas II, met with the Iglesio Ni Cristo (INC)’s Executive Minister Brother Eduardo Manalo, according to the church’s own Eagle News. 

In a report posted online on April 20, Wednesday, Eagle News said Roxas paid a “courtesy call” on Manalo, leader of the influential local church on Tuesday, April 19. The INC is one of the oldest local churches in the country. 

“Manalo welcomed them inside the Bulawagan room of the Central Office,” read the report, referring to the INC’s headquarters in Quezon City. 

Roxas was reportedly accompanied by his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez.

The Liberal Party (LP) candidate had earlier met with the INC, alongside his running mate Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo. Roxes described the first meeting as a “regular meeting” where they presented their platforms and priorities. Politics was supposedly not discussed during the first week, which happened between the last week of March and the first week of April. 

MEETING MANALO. Mar Roxas and wife Korina Sanchez with Iglesia leader Eduardo Manalo.

MEETING MANALO. Mar Roxas and wife Korina Sanchez with Iglesia leader Eduardo Manalo.

The INC is known for its bloc-voting. Its leaders endorse national candidates in the days or weeks leading up to the elections. In 2010, they backed the candidacy of President Benigno Aquino III.

But the organization faced its worst crisis last year, when its leaders faced allegations of corruption and abuse of power. The split has reached the courts, with both sides filing charges against each other.

Another presidential candidate, Senator Grace Poe, had earlier met with the INC's political affairs chief Eraño Codera. (READ: Poe on INC meeting: They asked me for 'fairness' only)

Poe earlier drew flak for her stand on the INC’s mass protests in August 2015, when she said INC members were just "defending their faith" against the justice department's supposed mishandling of the case. 

Roxas, on the other hand, reminded Iglesia leaders at the height of the mass actions that while it was their right to protest, they should not impinge on other people’s rights. The protests in Manila and on EDSA caused a major traffic jam in Metro Manila. – Rappler.com