Binay, allies deny engaging in politicking | Inquirer News

Binay, allies deny engaging in politicking

/ 03:27 AM August 31, 2015
Vice President Jejomar Binay INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

Vice President Jejomar Binay INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

NAGA CITY, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday said he was not courting Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) for support in next year’s national elections when he spoke in favor of the bloc-voting sect’s mass action in Manila on Thursday.

Binay said INC had not asked him for help and that he reacted as a “citizen” and as a “lawyer” when he called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to stop meddling in INC’s internal affairs.

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Invoking freedom of religion, INC launched a mass protest on Edsa in Manila to pressure the government into dropping a criminal complaint by an expelled minister against members of the sect’s governing council.

Binay said the government should respect the separation of church and state.

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Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also spoke in favor of the INC mass action last week, and known allies of Binay were seen on Edsa late Friday as the sectarians massed to protest the acceptance of the complaint by the Department of Justice.

Among those seen at the rally were Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, an uncle of President Aquino, and his wife, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, who lost a run for the Senate as an opposition candidate in 2013.

Also sighted was Council of Philippine Affairs head Pastor Saycon.

The Cojuangcos and Saycon are allies of Binay, the opposition’s presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

Following reports of their presence at the INC rally, Malacañang ordered government officials not to allow certain people to use the mass protest for their own political interests.

But close monitoring apparently failed to stop vested interests from infiltrating the rally, the Palace said on Sunday.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the statements of the Cojuangcos at the rally were identical to those of Binay.

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Saycon denied he tried to inflame passions at the rally to turn it into a “people power” revolt against the Aquino administration.

“There is no talk about any destabilization nor any talk of ouster of anyone from power,” Saycon said on Saturday. “Remember, I helped P-Noy become President in 2010. Why will I do something to remove him from office?”

Saycon argued that Edsa symbolized the free spirit of democracy and that any issue could be raised there by anyone.

The Philippine National Police set up “control points” at the Edsa-Shaw Boulevard intersection to prevent “opportunists” from infiltrating the INC rally.—Juan Escandor Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon; With reports from Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila; Arlyn de la Cruz, correspondent at large; Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon; and Joey A. Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas

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TAGS: Abby Binay, Iglesia, Iglesia ni Cristo, INC, Jejomar Binay, Pastor Saycon, Peping Cojuangco, politicking, Politics, protest, rally, Tingting Cojuangco
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