Archive for March, 2012

by Philip M. Lustre Jr.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo is a minority church that is always on the wrong side of history. It has a track record of supporting most unholy causes to pursue certain opportunistic objectives.

It supported the Marcos dictatorial rule and, until its tragic end, it did not say anything, much less act, against the three ills that plagued the Marcos regime: the over centralized graft allegedly committed by Marcos, his family and friends; the unrestrained crony capitalism that benefited Marcos and his crony friends; and, the wanton disregard and violations of human rights that led to torture and disappearances of thousands of political activists and even ordinary citizens.

It is notorious for supporting candidates in every election. Voting as a bloc, the INC is reported to have been using as political leverage its capacity to marshal political support from its members.

It is said to have been currying favor from political leaders, whom it feels to have given the political support to win in elections. It pushes, albeit quietly and without fanfare, the appointment of its members for key government posts. Lately, it is said to have been pushing for the appointments of certain friendly but unqualified non-INC members, but to no avail.

Political opportunism is its hallmark. In the 2010 elections, it was said to have backed up the candidacy of another presidential candidate, but left him for good after he was certain to lose. On the last minutes, it went to support Benigno Aquino III, who incidentally won by more than five million votes from his nearest rival.

Political scientists once studied the INC’s capability and capacity to influence the course of Philippine history. While its members are reputed to vote like automatons in every election, its influence is not that deep.

It could influence the electoral outcome in some local posts, especially in hotly contested congressional districts, cities, towns and provinces. The INC vote could represent the swing vote in those political constituencies.

In national elections, the INC influence is doubtful except for the last two or three slots of the top 12 in every senatorial elections.

Political scientists estimated that the INC bloc is good for 1.2 or 1.3 million votes. While it could monitor the votes in the Culiat area, which hosts its national headquarters in Quezon City, or San
Juan City, where its first church is located, it could hardly monitor votes of its flock in other areas outside of Culiat and San Juan.

In short, its political influence is exaggerated, owing largely to media reports that tend to describe this minority church as powerful and influential.

The political record of the INC is not the only object of concern. The INC is not exactly endearing to the labor movement because of its leaders’ abhorrence to join any legitimate action by workers against business establishments.

Henry Sy’s SM, notorious for allegedly circumventing the Labor Code to its corporate interest, has adopted as an unwritten policy the hiring of workers belonging to INC for reason of “industrial peace.” The same thing has been happening in certain industrial enclaves.

A labor leader once harshly described the INC as “the religion of the scabs.”

Last year, the INC supported then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, asking certain lawmakers, whom it supported in the 2010 polls, to vote against her impeachment. But an overwhelming majority of the members of the House of Representatives voted for her impeachment, causing
embarrassment for the minority church.

This week, the INC mobilized its members to support embattled Renato Corona in what appears to be a show of force on Tuesday. But it remains questionable whether it could match what the majority church and certain minority churches could jointly muster in certain issues.

As the impeachment trial shows, Corona’s removal from office could be another big embarrassment for the INC, just like what had happened to Gutierrez, who, after she was impeached, chose to quietly resign her post.

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http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideOpinion_mstd.htm?f=%2F%2F2012%2FMarch%2F3%2Feveryman.isx&n=opinion&d=%2F2012%2FMarch%2F3