ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya - The Freeman

In everything we do, success can rightly be traced back to our objectives from the very start. We always ask whether our objectives are met at the end of our undertaking. This is important especially when concerning major occasions and a huge number of people are involved plus with enormous consequences that it would cause to those involved and those who would be indirectly compromised.

The members of the Iglesia ni Cristo are out from the streets and back to their normal lives. This is after days of causing so much traffic to the public affecting so many people and businesses. And when people were supposed to enjoy their long weekend, this was what they experienced.

Such massive gatherings outside the Department of Justice office and EDSA Shaw in Mandaluyong City were meant to send a signal of their call for Secretary De Lima's resignation because of her intrusion to internal affairs of the religious sect where former INC minister Isaias Samson has filed a complaint against several INC leaders before the DOJ.

The INC's staging of rally in major thoroughfare is an obvious show of force, as they gathered members from other provinces, as if telling the rest of the Filipino people that they are a group that has a say on who's going to be occupying the posts of this country, that INC can dictate the government and not the other way around. As their supposed bloc vote has proven to have an impact for the past Philippine presidents.

But finally after five days, general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago has announced that both parties have already settled in their meeting in Malacañang . But what "settlement" or "deal" would that be? Because both the Palace and De Lima have also insisted that no deal was struck between the Palace and the Iglesia ni Cristo. 

But what really transpired in their meeting? What agreements were reached? So if this is the case, the DOJ would continue what it has started. Continue hearing criminal cases of the alleged illegal detention, coercion, and grave threat filed by a former minister.

So then, the objective from the start was not met. The inconveniences brought about by the holding of rally were tremendous that for ordinary Juan and Juana, such rally was just a pure show of muscle-flexing?

And because no one is above the law that not even a regarded powerful sect can influence the decision of the government, the government's action has to continue.

For Secretary De Lima, she has nothing to worry in her senatorial bid. The way I see it, she still enjoys the support from the netizens and from other sectors of the society. While we regard the united support of the INC this is not a full proof guarantee to a successful political bid. Citing data from GMA News Research, the report said Iglesia ni Cristo supported the late Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 snap elections. However many of its members supported the candidacy of former President Corazon Aquino. Marcos lost in that election. In the 1992 elections, another losing candidate who got the INC support was Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. He lost to former President Fidel Ramos. 

On the other hand, to avoid various interpretations from the general public, the government should let us know the details of whatever agreements. But for now, let us see what will happen next. Can we see a government that would bow to the dictate of a certain religious group? Or would it exercise its power and authority to uphold the mandate of the law? This is something that we need to see for the following days or so.

We need to move to more troubling issues but the concerns cuddling the sect leave us cynical about for to a certain extent, it remains until now incomplete. But if we take the government's no special agreement with INC, which objective that the INC could brag about to have succeeded? Yes, probably in showing their number but not their goal. 



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