The endorsement of the influential group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is a “game changer” in this coming May 9 elections, after the INC list of endorsement were given to its members over the weekend.
This was the contention of political analyst Prof. Prospero de Vera of the University of the Philippines.
De Vera said that the INC votes makes a big impact on the results of the elections, for it will bring sure, additional votes to any candidates that will be endorsed.
In fact, the list of endorsed candidates were already sent by INC to its members over the weekend.
Aside from the INC endorsement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for president and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos for Vice-president, the list of senatorial candidates endorsed by the INC includes incumbent or former Senators Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Miguel Zubiri, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon and Vicente Sotto.
Also included in the list are former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, former TESDA Dir. Joel Villanueva, international boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian and former Rep. Risa Hontiveros.
An INC source who refused to be named said that former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima is now in danger of being junked after earning the ire of the powerful religious group after her alleged “meddling” with the internal problems of the group during her stint at DOJ Secretary.
With the said INC endorsement, de Vera said that based on studies, 80 percent is the conversion rate of the endorsement made by the INC.
This means that 80 percent of the two million voting members of the INC will absolutely obey the endorsement made by the INC hierarchy.
This is translated to 1.6 million votes for the national candidates who were endorsed by INC.
“Sa pag-aaral eh as much as 80-percent ang conversion rate, ibig sabihin dun sa inendorso, 80 percent ang sumusunod. So kung sasabihin mong 2-milyon ang myembro nila na bumoboto eh di mga 1.6 million din ang boto. So ito ay mahalaga dun sa kandidato na inendorso [According to studies, 80 percent is the conversion rate, which means that 80 percent vote for endorsed candidates. This means that of two million voting members, 1.6 million vote for the endorsed candidates, which would be valuable for these candidates],” de Vera pointed out.
Following the contention of de Vera, both Duterte and Marcos will benefit from the 1.6-million votes of the INC.
In every election, the INC votes are being courted. Despite the internal problems which surfaced within the INC , their endorsement is much sought by presidential candidates and other candidates, who hold the belief that the INC is still in unity with their block voting, which they call kaisahan or pagkakaisa.
De Vera pointed out that while other religious organizations make political endorsements, INC is known for its “block voting,” which produces solid votes for candidates.
“Syempre ang Iglesia tulad ng ibang grupo na nag-eendorso ng mga kandidato ay may karapatan na mamili ng kanilang nasasapuso. Dapat respetuhin natin ang kanilang desisyon,” de Vera said.
Even in the local elections, INC votes is considered a game changer specially in close voting between candidates.
“Ang endorsement ng INC mas game changer yan sa local level kasi mas kaunting boto ang pinaglalabanan so every vote literally counts. So pag di ka inendorso ng INC sa local level, mahihirapan ka kasi mahirap humabol dun sa bilang,” he added.