As the noise of the Presidential Campaign arise for the coming elections, the citizens of the Philippines once again hope for a pivotal political experience in Philippine history. Geared and aestheticized to emotional appeal, these political campaigns target the masses and are often successful in hiding the discord between fact and policy among these aspiring politicians.
Election time showers an abundance of sweet words and hopeful promises from political aspirants to the masses. It signals the beginning of non-stop political campaigns, rallies, and all sorts of paid advertising to promote a political party or independent candidates. But amidst all the hustle and bustle of the campaign period comes the “mana” from the heavens! A time when “assistance” exchange hands between the most ambitious candidates and powerful political liaisons in the form of cash, kind or other “gifts” in exchange for votes to ensure their most coveted government position. This is an open secret that is practiced during election time by those who make the country go round and round.
You must know, by now, that I am talking about none other than the present day Iglesia Ni Cristo, headed by Eduardo V. Manalo, more notoriously known as the King Makers of Philippine politics.
The church has become so entangled in politics and some of its leaders and members have become politicians nowadays as they openly allow members of the church to run for political office. Why not, when the Executive Minister himself accepted an appointment as Duterte’s Special Envoy for OFW! How exemplary is that?! Only in the Philippines, and only in the EVM Administration.
So, let’s take a closer look into the rabbit hole of Philippine politics and the Iglesia Ni Cristo and see exactly what happens at every level.
Like many modern-day civil servants, they claim to represent the people and work for the people, may they be the incumbent candidates seeking for re-election or the challengers seeking to take the position. Are they good or bad, who knows? Any political candidate could potentially start out as a superhero of the people. If they stay long enough in power, they either die young holding on to their principles or live long enough to become a villain.
Decades ago, many political aspirants knew that if they want any real chance of winning, they needed to secure the vote of the INC bloc with only a letter of intention and a sign of good faith that they will be an ally who will look after the Church’s best interest. Their candidacy was not for sale and the the former church leaders most certainly did not accept bribes! Those were the days when true unity was practiced for a good cause, a Godly cause.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case today. Since the Eduardo V. Manalo take-over of the church administration, the church is not just a religious organization. It is a government, if not The Government. The thin line between being political allies and “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” relationship is literally corrupted. That translates to, which candidate has more clout and money to offer to the church administration to ensure both their political and personal interests as well as self-preservation.
THE POLITICAL BACKERS
Wether they admit it or not, some political backers are individuals, groups and organizations that support a candidate, and in most cases, back the winnable candidate and expect rewards from the winning party. Unfortunately, the Iglesia Ni Cristo institution falls into this category. Though it is not the biggest religious group in the Philippines, it has the most political clout that springs from their bloc voting. The sacred practice of unity is tarnished by the exploitation of a patronage system. The backer collects his dues in Millions before the election and expects more rewards and favours for as long as the politician remain in office.
INC political backers will use exploit bloc voting at any cost and will employ every form of machinery at its disposal to leverage their network against other political parties or individual politicians, especially those that do not pay. A blatant corrupt practice denied by the church administration but has been proven true when members of the council or Sanggunian were exposed by church members and politician whistleblowers in recent years. A big blow to the grandiose ego of an administration who still believes they have the power to make or break political aspirations.
THE CHURCH MEMBERS
Election period used to be a momentous time for members of the church because it is when they can proudly unite to prove their faith. But some unscrupulous members of the church from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy would take advantage of the situation by becoming a “bridge” to corruption. Disguised as a “goodwill” favor to politicians, they would arrange a meeting with the local, district and central administrator for a fee in the hopes of getting the coveted endorsement of the church.
It is also a time of testing of the faith for many brethren. There would be many who would simply put their trust in the church administration’s decision. After all, the Executive Minister would not decide on someone who would put the interest of the people or the church in jeopardy. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church Administration endorses a list of candidates and the members faithfully vote for each and every one of them, thus the solid bloc vote of the INC… well at least that was the case before the time of Bro. Eduardo Manalo as Executive Minister of the Church.
THE CHURCH OFFICERS
Election period is probably the busiest for the church officers, particularly for the Overseers and Head Deacons. This is because prior to the decision of the Church Administration, a special secret survey committee is formed in each Locale. The Ministers will receive confidential envelopes from the office of the Administrative Secretary that handles Political Affairs of the Church. In these envelopes, they would find strict instructions on how these surveys will be conducted. Selected Deacons or Overseers are assigned to form a group of Kadiwa (Unmarried brethren over the age of 18) and Buklod (Married brethren) Officers who will act as Survey Volunteers. Since this is a covert activity, they would need an organization to serve as a front for the survey and they usually task this to brethren who are teachers by profession and/or other organizations that can be used to mask the activity as INC-related activity. The group from one Locale from one District will be sent to another District where the likelihood of anyone being recognized is slim.
In the new age of EVM’s rule, some church officers gave into temptations and have become “bold” in making deals with politicians in exchange for “information” regarding the decision of the church administration. Thus, the birth of “INC brokers” that come alive during election time. Among those with vested interests are business owners who would benefit greatly from “Projects” granted by Politicians once they are already in power. These rogue political operators who use their church office as leverage to make these deals were usually uncovered and expelled immediately… well at least that was the case before the time of Bro. Eduardo Manalo as Executive Minister of the Church.
THE CHURCH MINISTERS
Ministers are also very busy during these times because they have to regularly submit reports to the church administration regarding the political temperature in their Locale and in their District. The Ministers would usually instruct any and all political aspirants to proceed directly to the District Office and request for an audience with the District Minister wherein they will be submitting their letter of intention to seek endorsement for their election bid. Of course, each Minister will have a candidate “friend” that he will most likely endorse in his report to the District Minister for consideration. If this candidate is also a “friend” of the District Minister, he will most likely be in the recommedation to the Central office. They will have to include justification if in case the endorsement of the District Minister is contrary to the report of the Survey Groups and the Locale Ministers.
There was a time when for District Ministers, it was difficult to get to “know” and develop a “close” relationship with aspiring candidates in his jurisdiction since it was a practice that prior to Election period, the District Ministers were “reshuffled” and reassigned elsewhere. This ensured that no endorsement from the District Ministers will be corrupted and anyone caught accepting a bribe from Politicians in exchange for endorsement is severely dealt with disciplinary action or expulsion… well at least that was the case before the time of Bro. Eduardo Manalo as Executive Minister of the Church.
THE SANGGUNIAN MINISTERS
This is the time when all the Sanggunian Ministers are supposed to be “unreachable” to any political aspirants and only the Administrative Secretary who handles the Political Affairs would be the official contact person for anything regarding the Election. The Administrative Secretary heads the Survey from each District all over the country. This office will be processing all the reports and collate everything for deliberation among all the Sanggunian Ministers before submitting it to the Executive Minister for a decision.
Even though the Sanggunian Ministers are well known to the Political arena and are very well connected, they are instructed to remain professionally distant so as to ensure that there will be no bias during Sangunian deliberations. They too may have their own preferences but they still have to consider the outcome of the secret surveys. You have to remember that the purpose of this secret INC survey is to know the political pulse of the people regarding the candidates who will be running for a position. This will help the church administration as one of the determining factors to gauge the “winnability” of the candidates prior to rendering the decision on who to endorse. This is also to ensure that the church administration is well-aware of the sentiments of the voting population. The Sanggunian Ministers are prone to bribery and corruption that is why they are strictly monitored and anyone who’s suspected of corruption will be severely dealt with and expelled… well at least that was the case before the time of Bro. Eduardo Manalo as Executive Minister of the Church.
Remember the High Ranking Ministers who were expelled for accepting bribes from Politicians? Yet nobody believed us then when we were reporting about corruption, EVM would always say, “What corruption?”, until it blew up in front of his face and was forced to expel these Ministers for “show” yet they were never prosecuted for extortion, just a slap on the wrist.
THE FIRST FAMILY
During this time, the First Family or the family of the Executive Minister is in no way involved or have any participation in the decision process of the Executive Minister. They do not serve as a “bridge” to any political aspirant regardless of friendships or acquaintances. The First Family was never involved with the inner workings of the Church Administration, not their extended family, not their children, not even his wife… well at least that was the case before the time of Bro. Eduardo Manalo as Executive Minister of the Church.
THE EXECUTIVE MINSTER
This is a crucial time for the Executive Minister because it will involve rendering decisions based on several factors. It’s also the time to prepare the church through meaningful worship service lessons to unite the brethren to champion the cause for the greater good and to put their obedience on top of their own personal preferences. This is a time when the Executive Minister will have to weigh every recommendation, every report, every survey, every advise and every information to be able to choose the lesser of the many evils. Every decision that the Executive Minister makes will have a repercussion of some sort, not only in the inner political realms but also in the realm of public opinion. During this period, numerous persistent church members who insist on running for office will be warned and if they still do not put aside their political ambition, they will be expelled from the church in accordance to the strict doctrines of the church based on the holy scripture which were strictly followed and implemented by the previous Executive Ministers.
This will be the crucial moment when the Executive Minister will have to declare to the whole nation that he, as Executive Minister, his Sanggunian Ministers, all the Church Ministers, Church Officers and Church Members, are NOT involved in politics and that they DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PAYMENT (BRIBE) in any form in exchange for their endorsement. Anyone who would be found guilty doing so will be expelled from the church… well at least that was the case before the time of Bro. Eduardo Manalo as Executive Minister of the Church.
THE ALMIGHTY GOD
It is true that our Lord God is the one who commands us to obey our spiritual leaders as stated in the holy scriptures:
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.– Hebrews 13:17 NLT
God wants His people to obey, unite and use every opportunity we have to practice good works. To give unto God what is due to Him and to give unto the government our dues as law abiding citizens are also commanded unto us.
There is no doubt that in the practice of bloc voting, religious organizations are more successful in delivering bloc votes than any other types of organizations. Through the years of bloc voting, the Iglesia ni Cristo has become a political power, creating a government or state that is beholden and in favor of them. Thus, the leaders of this institution slowly and secretly took advantage of this power and used it to amass wealth by selling votes and accepting bribes from willing political participants.
And during the time of Eduado V. Manalo as executive Minister, these leaders became bolder in their practice of this “open secret”.
And so they seize the moment! Since their congregants are willing participants of the “Obey and Never Complain” campaign, members of the church are no longer forbidden to run for office. Though there are some members that spoke against this and were severely punished by expulsion and persecution, congregation approval has become less and less of a concern for this administration. They simply do not care, risking the reputation of the once sacred and pure name of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
With the brazen disregard of Eduardo V. Manalo to the sacred doctrines from the holy scriptures that were safeguarded by many decades of pristine stewardship of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo and Bro. Eraño G. Manalo, the EVM Administration made a mockery of God’s teachings and the Church members who were expected to follow them. EVM definitely ushered in a new breed of brethren who are willing to do his bidding in the world of politics and leading the pack is none other than Bro. Rodante D. Marcoleta.
In the upcoming article, we will show you how Eduardo V. Manalo employs social media to reform the doctrinal narrative of the church in order to conform to the “new doctrines” and you will see how the gullible members “drink the EVM Kool-Aid”.
For now, rest assured that God knows exactly what is happening. No one can escape His sight and no one can escape His anger on that day when we will all be judged on what we have done and what we failed or refused to do.
“So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.”James 4:17 AMP
Now we can clearly see the more complete fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the daughter of Zion or more commonly referred to as Church of Christ in these last days.
How the faithful city has become a prostitute [idolatrous, despicable], She who was full of justice! Right standing with God once lodged in her, But now murderers. Your silver has turned to lead, Your wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes And chases after gifts. They do not defend the fatherless, Nor does the widow’s cause come before them [instead they delay or turn a deaf ear].Isaiah 1:21-23 AMP
~ Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista
“They tried to bury us…they didn’t know we were seeds.”
“Unlike you, I don’t have power or money, but what I do have is a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you tell the truth now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will expose you.” – A.E.
Philippine Daily Inquirer Article: “Antonio Ebangelista writes Philippine Daily Inquirer, Warns Iglesia Elders”
Question adn Answer: Q & A with Antonio Ebangelista
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