Pandering to the INC (UPDATED)


You think Grace Poe, Chiz Escudero and Jojo Binay are the only ones rushing to mollify the powerful Iglesia ni Christo? Think again.

There’s been an amazing display of “Selective Justice” all around. From Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, all the way up to Malacanang.

Yes. Grace Poe was dead wrong. As was Francis Chiz Escudero​ And Binay … But they are not alone.

Everyone is tiptoeing around the INC. And we know why. a) Because deals matter b) Because you’re scared of people who know where your skeletons are c) Because you’ve knelt too long before the doors of power.

Check out the quotes from all quarters as gathered by TV5 broadcaster Jove Francisco.

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READ INC: From rag-tag sect to influential wheeler-dealer?

READ Faith, politics, Iglesia inglorious

The INC is like the Ampatuan clan, only more powerful because its tentacles extend nationwide. Like the Ampatuans, the INC accepts homage from all political parties. How many untouchables under the Aquino administration? How many surprising cringe-worthy appointments that shoved aside the meritorious? The strings will probably reach all the way back to Commonwealth Ave.

Don’t forget: The INC endorsed the Aquino-Roxas tandem in 2010. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100505-268197/Iglesia-ni-Cristo-endorses-Aquino-Roxas-tandem

Let’s get this straight. Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members have a right to protest. They have the right to voice out their grievances. If they want to mobilize a million people, they’re welcome to that.

But numbers do not make them right. Nor should these numbers – and the prospects for votes in 2016 – scramble the brains of politicians who ought to know better. (Though it may be too much to rely on their brains on the issue of INC, since we do know that most of them grovel at the doors of that white building on Commonwealth hoping for the easy blessing of a bloc vote.)

The INC is wrong to frame its protest as a matter of defending religious beliefs.

While I’m not impressed by the dissenters – who have yet to come out and expose their Church’s involvement in systemic corruption – they have raised serious allegations of abduction and grave threats to their families. There have been news reports of a Bicolano INC minister disappearing and then reappearing in a Cavite jail.

I am not judging the INC leaders. They are entitled to a legal defense. But neither they nor their followers are entitled to command a halt to legal processes on criminal charges. And a process that hasn’t even moved that much — as opposed to, say, warrantless arrests against activists in Bukidnon.

Demanding that government ignore a legitimate plaint for justice is exactly what INC members are asking as they mass on Padre Faura.

Vice President Jejomar Binay has said a lot in defense of the INC. He makes the INC sound like some poor, down-trodden heroine in a soap opera.

The truth is, the government isn’t oppressing the INC leadership. Hell, the government pussy-footed for sometime even as desperate calls for help were being raised by the dissenters. Had it not been for a very noisy public would they have even bothered to investigate those cases? The case is at the preliminary investigation stage.

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I even have a suspicion — since officials backed by the INC are being promoted across the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) — that nothing much but posturing is happening. I have no illusions either about Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Her record is sterling in its mendacity.

So, what’s the fuss all about?

An internal leadership squabble is nobody’s business. But the tactics used in the struggle – including abduction and holding entire families hostage – is our business. We cannot shrug these off just because it’s an INC matter. Just as we shouldn’t shrug off serious human rights violations because the victims are militants and suspected communists.

(On the other hand, to jump on these cases simply because the villains are INC – and thus, not of our faith – isn’t the right attitude. And many of the comments on social media reflect religious bigotry rather than an actual concern for justice.)

Not that I’d give serious thought to what Binay says. But the younger Chiz Escudero and Grace Poe truly disappoint with their knee jerk reactions to the INC controversy.

I like Grace – probably more than any presidentiable. But in this she is wrong. Dead wrong.

Since when has belief that Mamasapano is important been an excuse to ignore other important cases?

That is a line of reasoning exactly like the one used by Malacanang to justify the sloooooow pace of investigation into the pork cases.

Grace, you should know that in this country “priorities” are always used as an excuse to let friends go scot-free. Review the Freedom of Information bill and its fate under President Benigno Aquino III. You should know better than to fall for that trite and self-serving argument.

INC5555Hammer on the need to file charges against those involved in Mamasapano. Go, we’ll back you on that. (And while you’re at it, why don’t you say something about the plight of lumads being hunted down on Mindanao’s mountains or the fact that their children are systematically being deprived of the right to education.)

But do not sweep aside serious charges of rights violations against the INC leadership. This has nothing to do with religion – unless you want us to believe oppression is acceptable when packaged as part of religious belief.

That was disappointing. Hoping you change your mind.

16 thoughts on “Pandering to the INC (UPDATED)

  1. IN THE CASE OF THE DOJ AND THE INC, HOW HAS SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE BEEN VIOLATED?

    1. In DOJ Secretary De Lima’s own words, quoted from a July 29 article, the reason for not closing the case are two:
    “Dalawang anggulo ang tinitingnan ng team – the alleged abductions of 10 INC ministers although most of them are unnamed,” de Lima said adding that they are tracing the 10 unnamed ministers.
    The second angle, de Lima said, is if Angel Manalo and his family are detained or not.
    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/probe-into-iglesia-abduction…

    2. Answer to De Lima’s 1st angle: That same article mentions that only four could be named. All four of whom have issued statements that they were not detained.
    http://www.eaglenews.ph/inc-ministers-come-out-in-the-open…/

    3. Answer to De Lima’s 2nd angle: Angel himself denied that he is being held hostage or detained.
    http://www.philstar.com/…/angel-manalo-alleges-corruption-i…

    At this point, the case should have been closed based on De Lima’s own criteria.

    What about Isaias Samson’s new charges? To put it in layman’s terms, if a person gets fired from his job because of violations of that company’s rules—and that same person is able to freely leave his home with his family and call a press conference—can the DOJ step in and file charges against that company’s entire board of directors, seeking their removal and arrest based solely on that disgruntled former employee’s testimony? That wouldn’t just be interference with that company’s affairs; that would be harassment and persecution of that company.

    In the end, this is what they are doing to the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Threatening to press charges that would result in the removal of the entire Church Council that assists the Executive Minister in overseeing the entire Church based on accusations that cannot be substantiated. Is this a real threat? Don’t forget that the ones giving De Lima her orders were also behind the removal of a Supreme Court Chief Justice and three Senators and the demolition job on the reputation of the country’s Vice-President. What do all five have in common? None of them were members of the ruling party.

    Has the character of the current government to try to control or topple any perceived threat been noticed by anyone else? You might find this Manila Times article interesting reading:
    http://www.manilatimes.net/the-ombudsman-aquinos-top-pol…/…/

    What the governing authorities have done to their political opposition they are now trying to do to the Iglesia Ni Cristo. If they cannot control it, they want to topple it. That is why this is an issue of Separation of Church and State.

    That Angel Manalo could join forces with such a diabolical group to bring such harm on the Church only shows why he had to be separated from the Church.”

    The following are more comments on Facebook related to the above:

    – “Delima ang dami palang senador na kaalyado nyo ang sangkot sa pdaf bakit di mo pa kinakasuhan? Sagot!!
    Bakit wala pang kasong isinasampa sa mamasapano incident? Dahil ba may madadamay na alam mo na.
    Sagot!!
    Bakit si gatdula pinanggigilan mo ng husto yun pala talo kayo sa korte. Abswelto yung tao. Sinira nyo yung dangal ng tao. Sagot!
    Bakit mo pinaniwalaan kagad yung mga sumbong ng mga tiwalag sa Iglesia. Naging partial ka kagad. Sigurado ako magagaya lang yan sa kaso mo kay director gatdula. Sagot!”

    – “De lima has obviously over estimated her 2016 Senatorial chance..what’s the motive? Perceiving We will seek a compromise to kinda bail The Sanggunian out in exchange of our votes? Incorrect assessment. She most likely is unaware of the fact that INC had to fight the strongman Marcos at some point of his reign when the latter thought he could bully us. Leila does not know what she’s into right now.”

    Therefore, in my (this is Sonny Serion now) humble opinion, De Lima has overstepped the boundaries of her job as DOJ Secretary. A non-Iglesia lawyer has said that the DOJ or De Lima should have advised Jun Samson to quietly proceed to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which has jurisdiction over the complaint and there, the complaint can proceed in due course. Instead, what De Lima did was provide physical protection to all the expelled ministers and families and entered them all into the Witness Protection Program of the government and with a retinue of news reporters and videographers made her office as the one receiving the formal complaint.

    SHE PROVOKED THE INC TO CRITICIZE AND ASK FOR HER RESIGNATION SO THAT SHE WILL BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION!! Her motive? She was/is planning to run for senator under the Liberal Party banner and make it appear to the whole world that SHE IS BEING PERSECUTED WHILE SHE IS MERELY DOING HER JOB. Will she get the votes to become a senator of the Republic? There are now people who think that she may be a good public servant who has the “balls” to do what is “right”, right?

    It is obvious that she is playing “chess” and trying to get the right moves way ahead of the opponent. And what is really disturbing here is that she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. How? She got the attention she needed. Even if just to placate the INC who will call for her resignation, she will resign but she needs to resign anyway because she is about to file her candidacy as a senator.

    Efren Sonny Serion

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  2. Another irresponsible articles. All are just taken in ceiling ideas (sa kisame lang kinuha). Learn and educate more about the issues. gather more datas please.

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  3. You put too much weight on what you think is right. You don’t even realize that your assertion against the INC is like forcing the Catholic church to abolish celibacy among priests and nuns or disallowing Muslims to have more than one spouse at the same time. Absurd comparison? On the contrary, it only shows lack of knowledge of what really is happening and why the INC is reacting this way.

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    • That’s exactly what the INC went to P. Faura for – telling DeLima to observe protocol. Her unusual attention to Samson’s evetually dismissed complaint created an impression that it (Samson’s complaint) was being “rushed”, endangering the leaders of the INC.

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