President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday met with Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo to thank the religious group’s support to his administration and seeks its endorsement for the administration candidates Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and Leni Robredo.
Aquino paid a courtesy call on Manalo at the INC Central Office in Quezon City on Monday morning, a week before the presidential elections.
“I asked for the meeting. I thanked him for the support he and his brethren have extended to us. I enumerated the gains under daang matuwid [straight path]. I expressed the hope that these gains will not only be continued but built upon in the future,” the President said in a statement.
“Talaga namang nadama natin ang suporta throughout the administration and even before I have been in office [We have truly felt the support of the INC throughout my administration and even before I have been in office],” the President told INC media after the meeting.
Aquino, who was endorsed by the INC during the 2010 elections, said he also shared with Manalo his vision for the Philippines after he steps down from office.
The President added that he made “political appeals” but did not elaborate.
“As usual, maganda ang pagkatanggap sa atin ni Ka Eduardo [I was received well by Brother Eduardo], I have no complaints but to say thanks for all the support,” he said.
When asked for his thoughts on the elections, Aquino replied that he hopes Filipinos will choose to continue with his administration’s straight path principles and programs.
[In our view, you have proof. Hat we call straight path, it’s up to you to continue and strengthen it],” he said.
“So, ang dulo, parati naming sinasabi, boss namin ang taong bayan. Hintayin namin ang hatol ng taong bayan kung ano ang gusto ng mga boss natin [In the end, like we always say, the people are our bosses. We will wait for the judgment of the people],” Aquino added.
Members of the INC are known to practice bloc voting, making their support crucial for a candidate’s victory.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe and Roxas have also met with INC officials.
Early this month, Poe said she met with an official of the influential group.
She, however, pointed out that she did not directly ask for the support of the Iglesia ni Cristo.