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Santiago: INC rally has political undertones

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 05:56 AM October 16, 2013

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago: Message behind the INC event. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Monday’s paralysis of the capital by the Iglesia ni Cristo carried political undertones, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said Tuesday.

When its mammoth medical mission ground traffic to a stop and prompted the suspension of classes and work, the INC was railing against widespread corruption and calling for a “political climate change,” Santiago noted.

Despite an earlier denial by the INC that there was anything political in their mass action, Santiago asserted: “There is a message behind the INC event… If you are a politician and you don’t get it, you are a fool,” she curtly said in a statement on Monday.

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Santiago, sought for comment a day after the shutdown, said the INC congregation had clearly shown discipline because millions of its members responded to its call for the medical mission, and proved that it had the capacity to paralyze the metropolis.

“That’s a civic tsunami we saw yesterday. They (politicians) never saw it coming,” she said in a phone interview.

But more important, the INC was also registering its protest of the large-scale misuse of pork barrel and other lump-sum appropriations in the national budget, the feisty senator said.

“It cannot be gainsaid that clearly the INC does not find the Aquino administration fully competent to face the challenges of the times, meaning to say, the outrage, the titanic outrage over massive and deeply rooted corruption,” she said.

“As a politician I would put it bluntly: that the INC, with all its inherent virtues, discipline, capability and principled leadership, isn’t going to engage in mere rhetoric or discourse over what it feels very strongly,” she added.

Instead, “it’s putting its money where its mouth is,” she continued.

“The envelope has been pushed too far. As a matter of faith, they (members of the INC) want a regime change, even only in attitude, among our present corrupt politicians,” she said.

What form and shape the INC’s “frustration” would take “is for them to know and for you and I to speculate,” the senator said. At the least, “they’re calling for political climate change.”

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It would be prudent then for the President, and leaders of Congress to sit down with INC leader Eduardo V. Manalo because the INC “has very deep roots in honest governance,” the senator said.

“Remember, the INC founder chose to brave an entire colonial regime because he found it corrupt,” she said, referring to Felix Manalo who founded the congregation in 1914.

Busloads of INC members from around the metropolis and provinces, numbering in the thousands, converged at five areas in Manila to conduct medical and dental services as part of its outreach program.

While the government suspended classes as early as Sunday, the caravan of buses and the massive crowd virtually closed major thoroughfares to traffic in many areas, resulting in mayhem, and forcing courts to suspend work in the afternoon.

Soon, social media was deluged with rants mostly from motorists stewing in traffic.

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TAGS: Church, Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), INC medical mission, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Philippines, Politics
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