On Wednesday night, the politically influential Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) finally announced its support for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for President and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for Vice President.
Iglesia’s executive minister, Eduardo Manalo, has reportedly called on the sect’s members to vote as one come Monday’s national elections.
“This is based on the teachings in the Bible that were taught to us even before we were accepted as members of the Church of Christ. We have faith that it is God’s teaching that there shouldn’t be division among us, but that we should be one in thinking and one in judgment,” Manalo furthers in Filipino during their worship’s circular read.
According to INC, a sample ballot that holds the names of candidates running for the national and local posts would be sent to them before the election to show their vote in unison.
All five presidential candidates have sought the support of the INC. But there was no immediate comment yet from Duterte’s opponents’ Senator Grace Poe, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. Marcos’ rival Leni Robredo, who leads the latest vice presidential voter preference surveys, also remains silent.
On the other hand, Duterte and Marcos also have no immediate response yet from last night’s announcement. Although it can be remembered that there were already reports as early as last week that Marcos had already been backed by the church.
A report from Philstar.com says INC was non-committal after receiving a text from Iglesia ni Cristo spokesperson Ka Edwil Zabala on Thursday morning. Zabala declined to verify that INC has already picked candidates to support in the coming national election. "Wala pa rin naman na nababago sa sinabi ko sa mga taga-press/media na nagtanong. Kapag nasabi na namin sa mga kapatid namin sa Iglesia kung sino ang napagakaisahang iboto ng INC ay malalaman din ninyo," he said. (Nothing has changed with what I released to the press. Once we have informed our brothers in faith in Iglesia who we have consensually decided to vote, you will also find out).