The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC/Church of Christ), a fast-growing global religious organization, is supporting the candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for President and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for Vice President during the upcoming elections in the Philippines on May 9.
In recent weeks, all of the presidential and some senatorial candidates in the Philippines visited and discussed their political platform to INC Executive Minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo to gain the support of the Church.
The sample ballots distributed by the Iglesia Ni Cristo Administration to its members across the country also showed that they will be voting for the following senatorial candidates: Joel Villanueva, Richard Gordon, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Tolentino, Martin Romualdez, Ralph Recto, Manny Pacquiao, Vicente Sotto, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
INC vote is important for politicians
Philippine politicians whether they are running for local or national positions, seek the support of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, which is known for its unity voting or delivering a solid vote. Politicians believe that gaining the support of the Church means having a great advantage against their rivals.
In an interview with Eagle News after visiting Bro. Manalo last month, Duterte said the support of the INC is important to him.
“Because the faithful believe in the decision of the elders, and the elders naman decide on what is good for the country. They will never decide on what is bad for the country, so mahalaga para sa akin (this is important for me),” said Duterte.
Marcos said he always learn a lot of things every time he visits the Executive Minister of the Church. He added, “I am always grateful for the continued strengthening of our friendship not just for myself, but the Marcos family with the brethren. We just want to continue what our fathers started.”
He also expressed that the support of the INC is important to him and acknowledged the fact that almost all candidates are hoping for the help of the brethren to win the election. I approached Bro. Eduardo to again request for his support, and the help and support of the brethren.”
President Benigno Aquino III also visited the Bro. Manalo to appeals for the support of the Church for his bet, Mar Roxas. The INC supported Aquino during the 2010 elections. He said, “I asked for the meeting. I thanked him (Manalo) for the support he and his brethren have extended to us. I enumerated the gains under Daang Matuwid. Lastly, I expressed the hope that these gains will not only be continued but built upon in the future.”
Iglesia Ni Cristo’s Biblical basis in unity voting
Iglesia Ni Cristo members faithfully believe in God’s commandment written in the Bible that His people should be united in everything they do as stated in 1 Corinthians 1:10.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
INC ministers once again explained and reminded members about this Biblical doctrine during their recent worship services. They also read a circular letter from Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo admonishing the brethren to follow God’s teaching on unity on May 9.
Bro. Edwil Zabala, a minister and spokesperson for the Iglesia Ni Cristo, said, “All true INC members have been peaceful and patient in waiting for whatever will be the INC Administration’s decision on whom they would vote for.”
He emphasized that the brethren are “all the more made stronger in faith, and will vote as one in unity with the Church Administration and with God, Whose teachings the Church strictly follows.”
Bro. Zabala expressed strong confidence that INC members will abide in upholding the unity in the Church the moment they receive decision of the Church Administration. He said, “We are fully convinced about the Biblical basis for upholding unity — we will abide by that decision.”
Shady politicians “so desperate” for believing that INC is divided
Bro. Zabala also emphasized that some shady politicians are “so desperate” for believing the ex-INC members such as Joy Yuson and Isaias Samson Jr., who are questioning the unity of the Church.
“The people who have been very vocal in questioning the unity of the Iglesia Ni Cristo are people who have already been expelled from the Church. When they claim that the Church is divided, the facts do not support their assertion,” said Bro. Zabala.
He emphasized that the Church remains united since those who are trying to create divisions have been expelled. Bro. Zabala said, “We are unafraid to follow the biblical injunction to expel from the Church anyone who would sow division.”
Furthermore, Bro. Zabala said, “These ex-members are not expressing their observation, but a wish on their part. And it is understandable because they are trying to squeeze the last few funds that they can from the shady politicians who so desperately want to believe that a divided Iglesia Ni Cristo will mean that they will win in the upcoming elections.”
“It’s an act of desperation on the part of these expelled members as well as the unscrupulous individuals funding them. As far as true members of the INC are concerned, nothing these ex-members would say would affect their faith. INC has nothing to do with these expelled members anymore. Perhaps the public is not aware, but the ones who are divided are these people.”