May 6, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The influential religious group Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is endorsing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the May 9 elections.
Duterte is running for president under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), while Marcos, a member of the Nacionalista Party, is running for vice president.
Sample ballots including their names had been distributed to members of the church on Thursday.
For the senators, the INC is supporting the following candidates: Joel Villanueva, Dick Gordon, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Tolentino, Martin Romualdez, Ralph Recto, Manny Pacquiao, Vicente Sotto, Win Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson and Migz Zubiri.
To recall, Duterte made a courtesy call to INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo last April 22, while Marcos also visited the INC central office along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on April 26.
All five presidential candidates have sought the INC support in their respective courtesy calls to the INC leader.
Politicians regularly troop to the INC to seek the support of the religious group, whose more than two million members, are said to vote in a bloc based on the advice of the church’s top leaders.
Political analysts believed that the INC endorsement is based on high-rating surveys of the candidates. – MBL