One of the most sought-after endorsement is the political endorsement of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), a religious organization known for delivering 64% to 72% of the votes it commits to a candidate. Known as an organization that votes by bloc, INC has been said to be instrumental in the election of various candidates from the highest position in the land — the President — to the lowest position in the village — the barangay councilor. But, what if INC failed to deliver as its members also have other choices? Or, what if it got its political readings wrong?
For the May 9, 2022 elections, INC has endorsed again a set of candidates and these are led by presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos and vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte.
Many felt distracted by the endorsement especially by the Kakampinks who are members of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Others were shaken because of the alleged weight of the endorsement in the elections.
Not all were affected, however, as the previous endorsements of the Iglesia made no impact on the electoral outcomes. Primary of these is the 2016 elections where Bongbong was endorsed by the religious organization but eventually lost — three counts of loses in one election to be exact. The first loss was the actual elections itself, the second was the decision of the electoral tribunal and the third was his appeal. Earlier, in 1986, INC also endorsed Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., but because the Dictator didn’t believe the Iglesia votes will be enough, he had to rig the elections.
In the local elections, a number of endorsements also failed. And, if this failed endorsements will go on and on, the INC will be definitely digging its political relevance and even lead to the scattering of its members. Facebook and Twitter rains with statements threatening to resign from the group should Bongbong wins. According to them, Bongbong does not deserve the endorsement as he is accused of being a complicit to human rights violations, the plunder of the Philippines and a convicted tax evader. Are these the ideals that INC is also espousing — a “magnanakaw” and a tax evader?
Well, only the Iglesia can answer. Meanwhile, many are saying: Iglesia man ako, pero si Leni ang Presidente ko.
Aside from Marcos and Duterte, Inglesia ni Cristo is also endorsing the following candidates for senator:
- Jejomar Binay
- Alan Peter Cayetano
- JV Ejercito
- Guillermo Eleazar
- Chiz Escudero
- Jinggoy Estrada
- Sherwin Gatchalian
- Loren Legarda
- Robin Padilla
- Joel Villanueva
- Mark Villar
- Migz Zubiri.
One of the endorsed senatorial candidates is Robin Padilla who was convicted in 1994 for illegal possession of firearms but given conditional pardon by Fidel Ramos. Later, he was geanted absolute pardon by Rodrigo Duterte. Another candidate, Jinggoy Estrada was also accused of plunder and is said to be the mastermind of the Pork Barrel Scam also known as the Napoles Scandal.