Duterte seeks INC endorsement
Rodrigo Duterte confirmed that he has sought the audience of Iglesia Ni Cristo head Eduardo Manalo, in a bid to secure a two million strong bloc voting power. Duterte released a statement after the meeting, saying:
"Ako ay lubos na nagpapasalamat kay Ka Eduardo V. Manalo sa kanyang mainit na pagtanggap sa akin sa kanilang Iglesia. Ako ay nalulugod at nagkaroon ako ng pambihirang pagkakataon na makausap siya at mailahad ang aking plataporma at pangarap para sa bansa kung saan ang milyun-milyong kaanib ng Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ay aktibong kabahagi."
This was also confirmed by the news outlet of the INC, Eaglenews, that Duterte went directly to Manalo in order to seek their support. The INC bulwagan room was where they talked, where previously other candidates have also went there to seek their support.
Duterte's main thrust was "doable" programs, as usual centered only on fighting corruption, illegal drugs, criminality, and food security.
"Sa aming pagtitipon, aking ipinaliwanag ang aking programa upang sugpuin ang krimen, ilegal na droga at korapsyon. Akin ding ibinahagi ang aking matagal nang panawagan para sa pederalismo upang pantay na maipamahagi ang kaunlaran sa buong bansa at maisulong ang tunay at ganap na kapayapaan, lalo na sa Mindanao," Duterte said.
Duterte did not shy away to seeking the endorsement, wanting to take advantage of the bloc voting power. He "needed the endorsement of the Iglesia Ni Cristo whose members vote as one during elections in adherence to the biblical doctrine on unity".
And with asking support comes return favors. He vowed to fight for the rights and welfare of the members of the INC, saying he will push for changes in the government. He was mum, however, on which posts he would appoint INC members.
"Kung nanaisin ng Banal na Panginoon at ako ay mahalal sa darating na eleksyon, makakaasa ang milyun-milyong miyembro ng Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) na ipaglalaban ko ang kanilang karapatan at kapakanan bilang mamamayan at mananampalataya. Gabay ang Diyos at sa tulong ng mamamayang Pilipino, isusulong natin ang tunay na pagbabago."
The INC has yet to announce who they will officially support in this years elections.