It's Duterte-Marcos for Iglesia ni Cristo
(Philstar.com) - May 5, 2016 - 12:32am

MANILA, Philippines — Iglesia ni Cristo-run Eagle Broadcasting Corp. has reported that the influential church will support Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in the May 9 elections.

Eagle News reported on its website that Duterte and Marcos were included in sample ballots already distributed to members across the country. The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) had previously declined to comment on the existence of the sample ballots.

According to the report, aside from Duterte and Marcos, the church is also supporting the following candidates for senator:

  • Former Technical Skills Education and Development Administration Director-General Joel Villanueva
  • Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon
  • Senate President Franklin Drilon
  • Philippine Health Insurance Corp. Director Risa Hontiveros
  • Former Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino
  • Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez
  • Sen. Ralph Recto
  • Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao
  • Sen. Vicente Sotto III
  • Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian
  • Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson
  • Former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri

Eagle News reported that INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo "reminded all the brethren to follow God’s teachings on unity when they go to the polls on May 9" in a circular letter read by INC ministers.

Endorsement by the INC is considered a potential game changer, with President Benigno Aquino III himself meeting with Manalo on Monday.

"For the church members, voting as one body is part of following the teachings contained in the Bible regarding unity, and not allowing divisions within the Church of Christ," the Eagle News report said.

INC spokesman Ka Edwil Zabala earlier Thursday declined to confirm whether an announcement had already been made on who the church will support on election day.

"Wala pa rin naman na nababago sa sinabi ko sa mga taga-press/media na nagtanong. Kapag nasabi na namin sa mga kapatid namin sa Iglesia kung sino ang napagakaisahang iboto ng INC ay malalaman din ninyo," he said in a text message.

Eagle News quoted him as saying, however, that church members have been patiently waiting for the INC leadership's decision.

"The moment INC members receive that decision — since we are fully convinced about the biblical basis for upolding unity — we will abide by that decision," he said in the Eagle News report.

The Eagle News report is thus far the closest to an official church statement on the endorsements. 

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