An Open Letter to the “Chosen Ones”


By this time you, our dear candidates, must be so elated for you already know by now that you actually clinched the coveted “command vote” of the influential Iglesia ni Cristo. Plus, there are those among you who also got or will get the blessings of the charismatic Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai and the self-proclaimed Son of God, Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

I personally disagree with bloc voting on biblical grounds. I believe that the church like a good parent should teach her children not just what to think but, much more, how to think. I feel that it’s better to teach people how to vote wisely rather than whom to vote. After all, for me, unity is not uniformity.

Yet, I have to respect those who do so for they claim they do it out of conscience in obedience to what they perceive as a command from God. That goes with religious freedom.

My Twitter chat with a friend who is an INC member

Having said that, allow me to remind you that we all know that there is no such a thing as free lunch… or endorsement.

Quoting a former presidential adviser regarding the support of the Iglesia, according to a report of the Phil. Center for Investigative Journalism, “The game… is mutual gain, mutual benefit.” I understand that you feel “utang na loob” or debt of gratitude towards the Iglesia. Time and again we hear of politicians giving preferential treatments to Iglesia members on employments and other benefits supposedly made available for all. They do so apparently to curry their command vote or to thank them for helping them win. In the same report, PCIJ goes to say, “Who the INC votes for depends in large part on what these candidates can do—or have done—for the church, even if they are not exactly paragons of the virtuous life that the Iglesia proclaims as ideal. … The INC’s approach is more pragmatic. ‘The leaders say that for a long time, these guys have been helping us,’ explained a senior member. ‘They give the kapatid (brethren) jobs, they protect the church’s interest.’” I just hope it will be different with you.

The same goes with the thumbs-up of Mike Velarde who, according to The ManilaTimes, endorsed some senatorial candidates “after getting the assurance that [they] are pro-life. They came to ask for help and Bro. Mike said to them they can only be endorsed if they have a change in conviction. Bro. Mike will not endorse if they are not pro-life.”

I may disagree with your convictions. But I would rather that you cling to an opposing conviction rather than you compromise it out of convenience (in this case, to collect votes).

Keep in mind that these religious groups are not the only ones who voted for you. You have other constituents also. In fact, when you take your oath, you would swear to serve even those who did not vote for you.

I would appeal that you would do what is indeed right as you go about your duties as a public servant. There are politicians who are always afraid to make the right decisions because they don’t want to risk offending those religious groups that endorsed them. Go for what is right and not for what is popular.

In the end, serve the people. Don’t serve your reelection.

Be like the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom these groups proclaim to be their Master as well, Who came not to be served, but to serve. 

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