What’s the real dope on the INC EDSA-Shaw fiasco?


MANY who had expected to cash in on the recent Iglesia ni Cristo march on EDSA/Shaw Boulevard ended with a sad face, as though they had lost all their life savings at Ricky Razon’s casino. One rather audacious hustler who had committed various groups, without their knowledge, to join the rally was visibly stupefied by the non-appearance of the guys and groups he apparently had wanted to exhibit as his own trophies. The INC organizers themselves did not want any strangers mixing in; using a common counter sign, the marchers were continuously reminded to make sure no non-members stood next to them. Thus, aside from Malacañang, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party (LP), no outsiders were able to use the march for their own ends. It was their show all along, at the victim’s own expense.

Even the expelled INC minister Isaias Samson, whose charges of serious illegal detention, harassment, grave threats and coercion against eight of the 12 members of the Sanggunian, the INC’s all-powerful administrative body, had triggered the protest rally, was himself used by Malacañang to hoodwink the INC. The INC was made to believe that De Lima was dying to file the non-bailable charge of serious illegal detention against the Sanggunian members, and possibly even against INC executive minister Ka Eduardo Manalo himself. This line was excessively hyped, including the last part.

Authoritative sources have since revealed that De Lima never gave nor intended to give the Samsons’ complaint any special treatment beyond what she normally gave every complaint reaching her. But she was “directed” to make it appear that she was “prioritizing” the complaint, just to see how the politically sensitive, bloc-voting INC would react. It was a pure political “psywar stunt,” reportedly concocted by a group using the services of an overstaying American consultant who used to work with then president Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and who is now identified with the boys of Mar Roxas.

The group was also reportedly responsible for spreading the rumor that even Ka Eduardo might be impleaded in the complaint. Samson has vehemently denied this rumor, but it was vigorously fanned by Malacañang, LP, and even some INC members. When the INC began to mobilize, the rumor proved helpful in calling upon otherwise lukewarm “kapatids,” especially in the provinces, to join the protest. Thus, many joined not because the eight Sanggunian members were in peril of being arrested and jailed on a non-bailable charge, but because they worried and feared for their head. It was all political bluff.

From Friday through Sunday, some 20,000 INC members jammed EDSA/Shaw. This wasn’t quite half the size of INC’s total membership in Metro Manila alone, which some INC sources place at some 150,000 minimum. The crowd was actually bussed in mostly from the provinces, but was big enough to create the gridlock that caused motorists to curse on the road, and many to slam the INC on Twitter and Facebook. When the INC apologized for causing the public so much inconvenience, Malacañang jumped in to press the organizers to end their march. At Camp Crame, Roxas reportedly told INC evangelist general Bienvenido Santiago the marchers would be dispersed and their leaders arrested if they did not quickly disband.

Eager to win some brownie points from the INC, some politicians argued that traffic had always been a problem under Aquino, whether or not there were marches on EDSA/Shaw. So don’t take it against the INC. They failed to consider that the public will always put up with any inconvenience for a noble public cause—-a protest rally against the criminal mismanagement and neglect of the MRT; against the slow response to the humanitarian disaster caused by superstorm Haiyan/Yolanda; against the President’s stand-down order that led to the massacre of 44 police commandos at Mamasapano; against the unpunished plunder of the P150-billion DAP and the P10-billion PDAF, which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional and void; against the looming conspiracy to stage another hocus-PCOS election in 2016, etc. But the tired office worker trying to rush home from work after a long day, but kept on the road for another two hours or so because of some INC members talking about the problems of the INC has a right to ask, “What’s in this for us or for the country?”

On Saturday afternoon, authoritative sources revealed that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa met with the INC head Eduardo Manila at INC Central Headquarters. This was promptly reported in this space, but the content of the closed door discussion was never disclosed to the press. If any agreement had been reached, and anyone had expected a Malacanang announcement that would allow the INC to tell its members to go home the next hour or the next day, nothing of the sort came on Sunday. To the contrary, it seemed to be all quiet before the storm.

At midday, I got a call from an INC “insider” who said the sect’s highest leadership had ordered a no-holds-barred attack on the Aquino regime. Non-INC members who had been watching from the sidelines would be welcome to join and raise all the issues they would like to raise, he said. Until then, the protesters and their spokesmen had been limited to talking about the allegedly “extraordinary attention” De Lima was giving the Samsons’ complaint. But they were careful not to criticize PNoy for anything, not even to ask him to sack De Lima for her alleged bias against the Sanggunian, or to ask her directly to step down.

This time, my informant said, a non-INC political operator who had tried to project himself as capable of packaging a coup against Aquino, would be calling a news conference to expose PNoy’s alleged PDAF dealings with Janet Lim Napoles, the purported pork barrel queen, when he was still a congressman. I told my informant I first heard of that story about a year ago, and had seen nothing to substantiate it until now. I wouldn’t bet a single cent on it, I said. True to my misgivings, the designated individual tried to insert himself into the rally as a speaker, but failed to make his so-called “expose.”

That Sunday evening, PNoy convened an emergency meeting of select members of his Cabinet at the Pangarap guesthouse. In attendance, according to reports, were Ochoa, Roxas, De Lima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, the AFP Chief of Staff and the PNP Chief. They discussed the situation on EDSA/Shaw and Ochoa’s meeting with the INC leadership. At the end of the meeting, PNoy had a conference call with Manalo, Palace insiders said.

Aquino reportedly told Manalo the charges against the Sanggunian (which have not even been subjected to any preliminary investigation as of now) would not be pursued; De Lima herself would be resigning in due course, together with all the other Cabinet members who would be running for the Senate. In exchange for its benevolence, Malacañang asked the INC to immediately end its rally, and commit to support Mar Roxas for President against any and all comers in 2016. For Malacañang, getting the INC to commit support for Roxas was the real end game.

PNoy had earlier anointed Roxas as his candidate, to fulfill a commitment he made in 2010 upon his mother Cory Aquino’s death when he asked Roxas, a long declared presidential aspirant, to give way to his presidential bid. Roxas then ran as vice president, but lost to Jejomar C. Binay, Erap Estrada’s running mate. Roxas is generally perceived to be the weakest of all the wannabes. “He could lose unopposed,” says one critic; “he would surely lose, even if he does not enter the race,” says another. The INC, which votes as a bloc, and is not known to support losers, is well aware of this. So Manalo reportedly told Aquino the INC could support Roxas if he manages to poll not less than 20 percent in the final popularity “surveys.”

It is a conditional rather than firm commitment.

But on Monday morning, the crowd quickly vacated the rally site after general evangelist Bien Santiago announced an agreement had been reached, except for those from the peripheries who stayed on until the opening of the big malls in the area, into whose bosom they eventually disappeared. Roxas has since tried to overwhelm the public by rolling out the first alleged survey showing him on top of everybody else. It is as bad a joke as Senate President Frank Drilon saying Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares would be running for President despite her constitutional disqualification and defects; but we have to brace ourselves for more of it.

The ratings of so-called front runners are generally based on completely non-transparent surveys, run by the propaganda fraudsters and those who pay them to supply the needed results. These are promoted by the complicit media, with the ignorant and gullible public as its victims. Not to be duped by these, the INC normally conducts its own political nose count. According to some insiders, the last INC internal survey on presidential preferences, conducted before the present crisis threatened to permanently split the sect into two rival camps, put Sen. Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., as the top preference of the “kapatids” way above all the rest.

Among the present probables, only Marcos could become the common choice of the two camps, the sources said. He alone, according to this view, could help preserve the sect’s ability to guarantee a common set of candidates for all its members. But Marcos is not even a declared presidential candidate.

However, the INC’s most serious problem is not the poverty of presidential choices, which is also the nation’s problem. It goes much deeper, into the duty of its members to follow the church’s leaders in choosing whom to elect in the next election. Since the founding of this church, its members have always voted as one; no member has ever openly questioned this disciplinary practice. But it might be one of the more profound effects of the split within the church after the expulsion of the executive minister’s own mother and brother and other ministers. A crisis of obedience could ensue, as suggested by the rather poor response from Metro Manila to the call for support from the embattled Sanggunian members.

An elderly church member said he believes the INC could become much stronger if, while insisting on the unity of its members with respect to religious doctrine, it allowed them complete freedom in making their individual electoral choices. This would be akin to the practice of the other faiths, famously expressed in St. Augustine’s classic formulation, “in necesariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas”— in the one thing necessary (faith), unity; in things where there are many valid options, liberty; in all things, charity. The elder said he was praying that the present crisis would thrust his church into the spring waters of reform. We wish this church the best.

Back to the 2016 election and the problems the INC shares with the nation, the dearth of worthy presidential choices is a profoundly serious concern. But our first fundamental problem is that while our people are eager to have another election, the government has no real desire or willingness to conduct a truly clean, honest and transparent election. Aquino and Roxas simply want to remain in power. The “election” will be a farce—-that seems to be a given. And the people, while aching to have an election, will not accept its results. They are waiting to reject them. Thus the nation could begin by holding an “election,” and conclude with a revolution.



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  1. “…Roxas reportedly told INC evangelist general Bienvenido Santiago the marchers would be dispersed and their leaders arrested if they did not quickly disband.” Quote
    If this info is true, it means, Mar Roxas have the ability to make a tough decision too. He got fire in his belly.

  2. For them it is politics, for us it is about God. Those who use their power to persecute Christians will surely suffer eternal damnation in hell no matter how high or powerful he is on earth. Huwag kayo malibang sa kpangyarihan ninyo. Diyos ang katakutan ninyo!

  3. Danny Cascolan on

    Care must be taken into a more correct perspective, we should put Integrity as highest respect in political exercises in our nation, religions whatever doctrines should not influence the political acts wrongly or perverse political laws that protects the Rights of the people in general irregardless of religious creed. We are not a nation ruled by whims of monarchs and religions, we threw that out instead because those systems put the people to subservience and abuse, we opted for political Liberty, Justice and principles of Human Rights, those principles are our sovereign not monarchs or religions anymore. Put religion for the Spiritual respect, away from political manipulation and corrupt sell outs else perverse the religion to Spiritual damnation in principle while corruping a political process.

    may iba kze interested nagtanung kung anu position ko sa INC, why am i being silent , I am sad ciempre, dame ko friends at relates na INC and has no prejudice to hurt in any way anyone of their feelings or beliefs, I view all of people sa bansa natin as my countrymen kze, but i will give my political thought on this matter ( dun lang aq sa political side na,nangyayari ), as I believe we should be guided correctly for a better future of our nation. my personal pov,

    Block voting resulted in give and take government position installations ( I dont know if money changed hands for the votes and the govt positions but there were unverified reports yet ), that also led to added provincial, regional, national political corruption of nation that INC admin has been at fault. The vote block has been subterfuged as a religious unified choice but in essence is a political manipulation usurpation of individual intellectual choice using the member’s faith. And it really is alarming that reports of criminal coercive force had been employed by INC armed authorities in power that clearly poses a danger that can harm the society. These are hardly spiritual matters all, these are political vested interests subterfuged as religious calls. I respect each religion as I view it to be neccessary for man’s spiritual evolution, but we must also accept the fact that even religions are social structure as it is an organization of people, and on many instances history proved that religious leaders ( not only INC ) abused and used the faith of its unwary dedicated members for political purposes of the organization.
    It’s apparent the INC admin knew how corrupt the Philippine System of Government is and responds accordingly to protect itself while it must have contributed to decay of our government too by resorting to immoral dealings I suppose. I am not siding with any particular religion at all, and there is nothing religious about this fiasco, I am commenting so that we people of our nation can be aware that we should not be a people fighting harming each other because of manipulations of our leaders, we should be building our nation in integrity and shun syndicated corruption. I request religious leaderships to hold up integrity ( there is no spirituality without integrity ) and love the people and shun corruption and criminal violence. Let your members be aware of political choices they can intellectually decide on. I,ask on Religious Leaders to protect not only your flock and biases but the people of this nation so Father God will see that we are worthy of this archipelago we live on. For now the block voting has been exposed as a means of corruption so please think over.

    Parehong sindikato nag away, could meet halfway and compromise so they can scratch its other’s back? Now why do you people think that de lima the yellow puppet is on the right? I sometimes think this nation deserves to be thrown out of the wind and exist no more but a clowning slave in the world map as there’s but idiots in the millions.

    Ang pagsisisindikato ay Corruption in any form ang kaaway ng ating Bansa ngayon. I think filipinos should be reminded of that.

    Ang pagsisindikato ay Kriminalidad at Kurapsyun in any form ang kaaway ng ating Bansa.

    My pov,
    There is a difference between being politically, commercially used as to be that of being led in a spiritual direction. Following blindly is not a genuine faith but an empty ridicule of self.
    Until you are sure of the differences ( as in looking, studying at the factual basis of your faith – there must be ) you may not know where you bind your soul.
    Excerpt commentary,
    Many a religious institution vied for monarchial powers, becoming no different from political concepts,
    Religious history attest to that,

    I am sad to see,
    Na may mga kriminal, kurap at zombie brained na dilawan na nga, add pa mga ‘Sovereign Infection’. People invented religions, a jesus for hypocrisy, for the irony that it would be worshipping the man that if they meet one of such in poverty really they would treat in disdain.
    At dahil nga sa ganyan binulag ng Diyos ang marami para magdusa sa kabalbalan never to ever see wisdom and spirituality.

    My personal pov.

  4. When your “manok” in the presidential derby has a complex problem, expect more weird things to come.
    Pick up po ba?

  5. goodness me, your ‘authoritative sources’ and ‘INC insider’ and ”your informant’ must be having a heyday giving you this fantastic stories and you as a veteran journalist takes it hook ,line and sinker. Even your “obsession” with the foundling is in alarming level( Immigration ruled – SHE IS A CITIZEN) Have you ever thought youve been played in to look as a fool? or are they rewarded?

  6. Ito ang tatandaan ng lahat,kahit kaanib sa INC!
    Hindi kailangan ng INC ang maraming tao o kaanib,kung hindi naman sila sumusunod sa aral na kanilang narinig at sinampalatayan! Matutulad Lang sila sa katoliko na hindi mapigilan ang kasamaan ng kanyang nasasakupan!
    Hindi ang dios ang nangangailang ng kaligtasan,ang Tao ang siyang nangangailang sa dios!
    Ang tao ang mamimili ang rebulto at mga santo at santa at idol o ang nag iisang tunay na DIOS!
    Kung sa akala ng marami ay masama ang religion INC, at mabuti ang katoliko at ibang religion!
    Nasa kanila na ang desisyon!
    Kaunti lang ang maliligtas kaya bahala ang tao mamili kung ano ang tama sa kanila!
    Wala akong alam o natutunan,na kapag ang tao ay nanglalait ay nasa kanya ang dios!!