Tag Archives: INC

Duterte Questions

  1. Is Duterte a Marcos loyalist?
  2. But he is friends with CPP NPA, who really hates the Marcoses, how will he toe the line?

In Davao he can deal and make concessions with NPAs, but he has not done this at the national level. If he is a Marcos loyalist and at the same time secretly dealing with the NPAs during his term in Davao, doing so as a President will be a very dangerous experiment.

  1. Who is more powerful, Duterte or Bongbong Marcos?

Marcos cronies are still in power and owning businesses all over the country. The Floriendos for instance who owns unbelievably sprawling banana plantations in Mindanao. Banana plantations as far as your eye can see. Imagine, businessmen like that, whose products are not being sold in the Philippines, and always ridden with labor issues. Let us just say, these cronies are not very patriotic businessmen. Now imagine these businessmen are in food, media, energy and so on. Well, question answered: BBM. Duterte? Who are his friends? The Balimbings?

  1. Too many Communists in the government?

Cory Aquino made that mistake in her term. Because of this, and probably something else, Gringo Honasan and his men made around 9 coup attempts! I was an elementary student back then, and you could just watch fighter jets shooting at each other right above Manila! Violence leads to bad economy. So kids, we are not poor because of the Church, nor because of Cory alone. There are many factors and events that lead to poverty and injustice – that includes the 25 Billion Dollar debt left by Marcos which we all have to pay until, by estimate, year 2025. Marcos cronies, on the other hand, they never knew poverty.

  1. Does Duterte hate the Catholic Church because it is a hypocritical institution?

Two things. First thing, obviously Duterte was hurt because the Catholic hierarchy did not endorse him. He said it himself. Hands down, that’s the real issue on why he rants against the church! Second, everybody loves to hate the Catholic Church. Simply, join the bandwagon, mention frailocracy, Inquisition (which is European history), Crusades (which is European history), child molestation (mostly done by white men, Americans / Europeans, so Bishop Oscar Cruz asks Duterte for names if there are any Filipino abusers, just say it and it will be dealt with, simple) and Church money. Then ask the people, what do you know about them? They can’t answer, except “Basta, nakakainis talaga ang mga pari at bishops na ‘yan! Mga Hipokrito!” Then they go on debating like that for several days, based on allegations and emotions. Now do they have time to ask more relevant issues aside from sex? Nope. Now, what is the rhetoric. When he attacks the Catholic Church he appears to be a hero of Church and State separation thing. But many politicians, even himself, goes to INC, Quiboloy and other religious sects. Any church but not Catholic church? Besides, INC can influence and is influencing who to put in a government post! So who’s partially running our government?

What I see is this. People buy Duterte because of “Oh, My God, I hate drugs,” “If you go to Davao and smuggle I will kill you,” so on and so forth. Second, people are expecting that under Duterte administration Philippine wealth will trickle down to the poor. But one of the sources of poverty is the crony system, or the oligarch system. Numerically, we can have high GDP, but it does not necessarily have to benefit the rest of the Filipinos. The numbers stay among the few. After EDSA I, our governments did not have the heart to dismantle the reigning oligarchs in the Philippines. I think, it amounts to an economic vacuum. So they are still there, well placed. And rich and in control of the economy and our politicians.

I propose a logic. The main source of poverty is Oligarchy. The Oligarchs that Marcos placed are still there, they have expanded their businesses. Duterte for all we know has a very special attachment to Bongbong. Bongbong still has the loyalty of the cronies. Duterte will not touch the cronies. Duterte wants to make the Catholic Church unpopular. But he likes Iglesia ni Cristo and Quiboloy, they supported him and the latter gave him money. So they are silent about moral issues that are supposed to be religious concerns: divorce, death penalty, business ethics, political ethics, human rights violation (by the way INC was “with” Marcos during martial law) and so on. Only the Catholic Church openly speaks about them. Duterte will in the end need the power of INC, to which he will be exposed on the national level, and that will be a game changer. So he   will not touch these religious sects, for after all, INC and the Marcoses have had good friendships in the past. Separation of Church and State, nada.

CPP NPA in government? A thorny issue.

So where does our logic go? Duterte is giving us the impression that he is grassroots guy. But in the end Duterte is surrounding himself with elitist power. He needs them. The foolish thing will be is this, to think that he is in control.

Duterte, it seems, is playing a game of hide and seek, shock and awe. That is why analysts find it hard to read him. A little patience and you will be able to “read” him. Mine obviously is just one among the many ways of reading.

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separation of church and state: Philippine election

Still writing my thesis, except that I am willfully derailed by the current noise of our upcoming May 9 Philippine election.So I am here writing a very short entry.

For these past weeks the best I could do is ask the opinion of friends regarding the Presidential candidates. I’m quite perplexed now: Poe? Roxas? Duterte? Binay? Abstention is not an option, I just try to be as informed as possible.

But what I have in mind now is Duterte’s statement about Catholic vote. Which rests on this superficial presumption: When it comes to matters of separation of Church and State what comes to mind is Catholic Church versus Philippine Government.

We’re Filipino Catholics. All of our presidential candidates are Catholics. Your grandparents and our forefathers were Catholics. Catholicism was already here organizing our communities, educating us, forming our ancestors even before there was Philippine Republic. Now that we have imported a Democratic way of governance from United States, we have pronounced the separation of Church and State, which the American people had debated among themselves. Well, no problem with that.

My problem is why go to Iglesia ni Cristo or Quiboloy or El Shaddai or any Protestant denominations present in the Philippines. Aren’t they religious groups? What’s at stake when Iglesia ni Cristo endorses a candidate? Are they not influencing anyone by their endorsement? I mean come on guys.

The bishops are vocal because it is clear to them that their business is different from the State no matter how unpopular their stances were or are. Iglesia ni Cristo is silent on most issues! But when election comes everyone cowers over this religious group whose power and influence over our government is obvious. I don’t know – are they rigging our elections?

Now. My fellow countrymen, I am for separation of Church and State. I fully appreciate what Manuel Quezon and our forefathers had done to ensure we had a smooth transition to a Democratic government under the guidance of US. But they were Catholics too. They staunchly defended the independence of State from Church. But how about our candidates now? Can we sincerely say that by their actions they are upholding this tenet? No. The Catholic Church isn’t the only church / religious group in the Philippines. However, we see our candidates blatantly violating this Democratic ideal by courting other influential religious groups. For what favor?

 

 

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Good thing de Lima did not listen to Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero

With the Iglesia’s well entrenched influence in Philippine politics and businesses being felt of late, you get to think twice about past events. This is not simply about big national issues where INC gets into some sort of morass. This is about personal experiences of people, told over and over again, about how pushy and contentious INC members are. Anywhere I go there is always a “story” about INC.

The stories seem like folk legend until you get to experience them personally. The incident I had involved one of my family members. No details here, let it all pass my mother said. It wasn’t dramatic but you get to sense how INC do things. My friends in politics also lament over the power rigs by Iglesia. My friend who was working in a building-construction under sub-contract knows about “privileging” when it comes to Iglesia businessmen. Some of my friends coming from other Christian denominations complain about how contentious Iglesia ministers are. Don’t guess that I am an unqualified opposition to INC – I have a friend belonging to the said religion. It went this way: he met a pretty INC girl, they fell in love, so he had to convert to her religion in order to marry her. Our friends did not have problem with that. Nor did I – well, just a bit. But personal encounters should not always prevail over testimonies. Sure I know several good Iglesia members but what of those who cried foul?

Here, I keep the principle: the Chinese are different from the Chinese government. I always keep that in mind to differentiate the members and leaders of institutions. When the Iglesia leaders and members lashed at Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s “supposed meddling with ‘internal’ affairs” prompting them to protest in EDSA, they did it under the direction of their pastors. But up to now, the Manalo’s are nowhere in sight to explain their side; this is where I think Iglesia becomes questionable. Its religious leaders are not known to account for their flock.

For some weeks now we follow Lowell Menorca, the expelled INC minister who allegedly suffered illegal detention by INC members and worse, abduction by policemen. What seems to be an organized manhunt on a certain “Antonio Ebangelista” a pseudo-name of a blogger exposing INC’s internal anomalies, led to Menorca’s illegal detention. This means that Menorca is just one among the many suspected INC ministers abducted in INCs blanket arrest. Just a couple of days ago, in a rather predictable turn of events Menorca and his wife were charged with illegally detaining one of their maids.

This brings us to Poe, Escudero, and others who said that we should let INC alone in their “religious business.” That is a dangerous assessment, as has been believed before and as it is being proven now. It renders someone who is supposed to defend civil rights, already inept to uphold it from the beginning. It is a failure of justice due to partisanship. Poe’s statement appeared supportive of the INC, when in fact all she has to say is “investigate the matter.” Why would she say that INC members are “defending their faith,” and “protecting their rights”? It is simply equivalent to saying “Don’t do anything.” That kind of attitude has led injustices in our system into an uncontrollable spiral. Yuji Gonzales reports that even Sen. Serge Osmeña was disappointed saying, “She (Sen. Poe) was wrong there, she appeared to be a trapo.

Sec. Leila de Lima at least took her stand. At least now we have been supplied with more details. Menorca’s revelations are just startling; he was abducted in Sorsogon and was brought to Dasmarinas, Cavite. His wife Seiko Otsuka was threatened, that if she did not surrender her husband would disappear. The Philippine Star reports, “Menorca said he had the impression that one of the policemen who detained him is a ranking police officer, since ‘everyone saluted him.’” By retrospect he was certain that he was about to be murdered. A grenade was thrown into his car during the abduction, when it did not go off, an officer was asked “to finish him.” The report continues with Menorca saying “When we reached an isolated area, he looked for a gun. That was when I begged him. I said, ‘Please don’t kill me. Have mercy. I am a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo and I have a family.” His life was spared but in turn he was illegally detained in a house.

I know you have time to research over this matter, I leave the rest of the reports for you to read.

It is so ironic that this one hundred and one year old “religion” has only instilled the impression of having bad PR among their fellow Filipinos. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been a “homegrown” religion we could have been proud of if it were only known for its good deeds, saintly ministers and self-sacrificing transparent leaders. We could have been proud of it if it has exemplified the best of Filipino qualities. I will not change religion for patriotism, that is absurd, but at least we could have been proud of “Iglesia.”

What is clear with this stunning turn of events is this – there is a crime. And when politicians suddenly becoming unsure of their stand whenever INC gets into a problem, it becomes an affirmation of their influence. Yes, that is how powerful INC has become.

Sources:

Rey Bancod, “Abducted INC minister to bare all today,” Manila Bulletin, October 25, 2015, 6.

Jerome Aning, “Ousted INC leader bares murder plot,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 26, 2015, 1.

Michael Punongbayan, Edu Punay and Rey Galupo, The Philippine Star, October 26, 2015.

Yuji Vincent Gonzales, “Stand on Iglesia ni Cristo protests: Poe’s faux pas?” Inquirer.net, September 16, 2015.

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Grace Poe and Leni Robredo – an expectation gone sour

It was a naïve expectation – as usual for judgments formed based on a scant amount of information spiced by persuasive image-building. An old trick for a quick resolution on who to vote. A trap for the lazy public. Thank you INC.

Grace Poe will run for President in 2016. Leni Robredo would not vie for VP. The Camarines Sur Representative takes a moderate step despite enjoying a name which her late husband helped prop up. The senator wants to take a shot at the top, after a brief stint at being popular while enjoying a name which her late father institutionalized. All the while Poe was stellar. Many liked her, admired her – until INC leaders cajoled its member to make tantrums at EDSA. INC’s brand of hermeneutics, if there is any, is already faulty, how then can we expect its leaders to decently interpret the law – it is expected that they would arrive at a bloody understanding of the doctrine of the Separation of Church and State. Their manner of interpretation is not dialogic, it is muscle flexing. And so it was.

Many politicians got scared at the miniscule muscle at EDSA, and Poe was disappointing in this regard. Mar of all people showed a more “sound” mind. The way INC leaders interpreted the Separation of Church and State is so wrong – call me judgmental – that they made abduction / kidnapping a non-crime. I am Catholic, but if a Bishop commits a crime he should be dealt with lawfully.

What is perfectly astounding is that the interpretation of the law was placed in the hands of the incompetent and those who are supposed interpret the law, who passed the bar exams, seem to have subjected themselves to INC’s “barristers.”

Having an all female tandem leading the country would have been a most refreshing shock. Two intelligent women leading the country is something we don’t have a problem with. But it turned sour. INC does have an influence on our politics. That they can drive cold the spine of some of our influential leaders has been made manifest. This is disappointing. That Poe will team up with Chiz – man, do we lack people in the Philippines.

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Iglesia ni Cristo’s (Post-Valentine) March for Yolanda Victims

Our kababayans belonging to Iglesia ni Cristo are thoughtful enough to mobilize a march for Yolanda victims last Saturday, February 15, 2014. Mobilizations of this kind do increase awareness and to their credit have been noticed and qualified to be listed on the Guinness Book of World Records, for a “charity walk in 24 hours multiple venue;” on the side, however, for the Guinness business to remain true to its nature, it has to invent new categories to accommodate ‘novel’ entries.

Much thanks for we have been quite successful at gaining noticed these past few months. But I think we have too much attention already, we have received enough financial aid in fact, if used properly and with eye for sustainability, could definitely help rebuild communities adversely affected by Yolanda.

What I currently find odd is the manner of help which the INC would wish to effect. Isn’t Tacloban a couple of minutes away from Manila for example? What does this imply? Firstly, it implies that we are a thoughtful people. Secondly, our thoughtfulness is often expressed in starkly out-of-place fashion. In a fun-run-country, where fun is equivalent to responsibility, a march for Yolanda victims ought not to surprise us. But it ought to surprise us. Not to be surprised is to be blind to an alarming symptom of a yet to be described fatal disease: a social disease, a cultural disease.

If a march was held for example in Russia (organized by Russians), or Egypt (organized by Egyptians), or Pakistan (organized by Pakistanis) for the sake of Yolanda victims in the Philippines it would have been a very delightful act of charity. That kind of march would have dramatically sent a message of solidarity with their fellow human beings whom they could not help directly. Marches of this kind are for persons who by virtue of distance are precluded from acting out their intense desire to help – as an aside, I have personally encountered this kind of people and they are silent volunteers not given to trumpeting their works.

Contrast this with Filipinos in the Philippines, with, mind you, an organizational structure that could summon a hundred-thousand plus people to the streets of Manila. For an organization to feel mightily proud of it should think twice. Why? Because there is a big difference between what personal initiatives could accomplish and what a big organization could accomplish. An organization which is already happy over an accomplishment that any individual, famous or otherwise, could do, should be by now questioning itself. My point here is that organizations could deliver more efficient ways of addressing problems or needs, especially religious organizations.

Picture this. If you were a foreigner looking at the Philippines and what its people are doing for their Yolanda victims, would you not rant “We have sent you money and goods and we will continue doing so but at least do something for your people. What are you asking for by marching? Do you want us to send volunteers to help your own people? ” Why are we still making pa-cute to international communities? This, here, is our cultural problem.

INC simply displayed a chink of what ails us as a nation. I think what we lack is a hard sense of responsibility to others.

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