INC

Iglesia ni Cristo

On Sunday morning, I was on Shaw at 8:30 looking for a place to have breakfast, surprised about the absence of traffic noise and not realizing that a rather sizeable crowd of Iglesia ni Cristo members was gathered in the intersection of EDSA and Shaw.

Some, those looking exhausted with bloodshot eyes, were holding their placards that obviously had only one provenance, mass produced for the occasion. Some of them looked as if they were attempting to keep sleep and fatigue at bay, trying their best not to look as if they’re uncertain about their decision to be there on EDSA. Some of those who have given up keeping the facade standing were sleeping on reflective mats sold to them by a few entrepreneurial members of the neutral public who had seized the moment to earn a little.

A man from Marinduque stood on stage and talked about how he abandoned his fear of public speaking and was with the Iglesia at this very critical moment in the history of the sect.

While walking in my slippers, torn shorts, and an old shirt, the thought of being caught in the maelstrom of history in this garb made me smile. It was a beautiful day; the sun was up, there’s a slight breeze, and the traffic of vehicles that normally gives EDSA its sinister character was absent. It was a nice feeling to be there if not for the giant amplifiers that blew everyone and everything that stood on the path of the sound waves emanating from it away.

A monstrous LED screen was showing the churches built by Iglesia all over the world, while a voice over in that super affected radio announcer pitch was explaining how architects have made sure that these structures are made to withstand any calamity – a super typhoon, a tsunami, even a massive earthquake.

At the back of the screen, placed in the concrete box islands that contain ornamental plants that are meant to make Shaw Boulevard less menacing were unopened boxes upon boxes of bottled water. A few meters away were portable toilets standing next to each other; a young-looking man was covering his nose with his shirt before entering one. The Iglesia was holding its ground and would not withdraw, it appeared.

Any well thinking individual, Iglesia members uncluding, I surmise, who have a little background on critical thinking will realize from the onset that the reason for the protest, framed within the premise of the call for separation of Church and State is but flawed.

The editorial of today’s Inquirer on the issue is written well, and calling the action of Iglesia ‘non-sense,’ is fearless. As the crowd of INC members dissipates today nothing is proved more than the waning relevance of the sect. That more than trying to throw a red herring from the real issue, it is their leaders’ attempt at testing how relevant Iglesia is still in a society moving toward modernity.

Political leaders genuflecting before that Disneyesque temple on Commonwealth months before elections will lose the respect of the rest of the population.

Leaders (Chiz Escudero [this guy is reeking with the stench of political opportunism], Marcos, Binay, and Poe) who support the brandishing of the laughable separation of church and state argument for fear of not getting Iglesia’s bloc vote come May 2016 elections do not deserve my vote (and I will file a leave from work for a day to do my voters’ registration just to make this point).

I found a tapsilogan near the corner of the street, had my fill, and went home, hearing on my way that same man telling his fellow believers that more Iglesia members were coming. Indeed all roads led to Manila yesterday for Iglesia ni Cristo believers. But what for and so what?

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I’ll cast my vote this time

I am a registered voter in Barangay Calansanan Badiangan, Iloilo. I registered with my grandmother in 2004, traversing streams and rice paddies and riding a tricycle swarmed by young elementary school students just to reach the municipal hall located on the other side of a mountain. Although I am a registered voter, I never voted in any single election since I turned 18. Some crooks might have already used my name to vote for some corrupt politicians who can afford to pay, as is always the case in Philippine elections.

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This barangay, located several kilometers from the nearest high way, is blocked by ephemeral streams from roads that would have connected it to other barangays for trading and other commercial endeavors, so until this time civilization is still at bay wondering when it will be allowed access. The place exists in a dream-like painting by Amorsolo minus the smiling lasses and able lads basking in a golden afternoon sun because the place is poverty incarnate. And the smiling lasses and able lads are either forced to leave and find a living in the city to send back money or they endlessly manufacture, so long as their hormones allow them, smiling lasses and able lads like them and hoping that these replicates of themselves go to the city and send back money someday.

For if somebody in the field of anthropology wanting to conduct a research using hermeneutics to live in a place where cycle of poverty mindlessly cycles or a biology major finding evidences to support the theory of spontaneous generation, as in this place babies miraculously sprout from any available space like mushrooms after a shower and thunderstorm, then the place is perfect.

I was asked by my lola to register in that place because my uncle, her son, was running during that time for municipal councilor. I agreed. He won without my vote because I chose to volunteer then for a radio station to cover the election in a district of Iloilo City.

I was not able to vote in the succeeding election as well. That time my grandmother’s son found himself at the bottom of the list. By the third time, he failed to occupy a position. The last time I heard he was wallowing in memories of his failed career as a politician but was contemplating to do a grand political comeback in 2010.

I read in the news this morning about the forum organized by the businessmen of Makati that invited aspirants for the presidency in 2010. In the forum, the presidential wannabes we’re asked to give a presentation of their platform of government. It must have been a riveting gathering of five men and a woman. Both Noli de Castro and Manuel Villar declined. Ping Lacson (for reason that he has already given up his bid) refused the invitation.

PHILIPPINES MUSLIM REBELS

Gilberto Teodoro is an untested yet imperious, cocky is a better adjective, guy from the Armed Forces who has deluded himself that he can win the election despite him standing in the shadow of Arroyo’s corrupt administration and his name that spontaneously appeared from a virtual anonymity. This, of course, is with the help of his wife whose take on being ambitious can only be described by the word overkill

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Loren Legarda, a broadcaster turned senator tuned griping vice presidential loser has said nothing concrete in her entire life and who has mastered the use of politicalese to a high level of efficiency that nobody understands her anymore, not even she. “The absence of an integrated, unified, and coherent road map is the culprit for the snail-paced Philippine economic and security development. We need to fuse national economic growth with national security in the development of an integrated plan.” By integrated plan she means…

Dick Gordon

Richard Gordon needs to seriously consider changing his nickname, Dick. He is an idealist who speaks in sweeping and stirring declamatory style. I first heard him speak when I was fourteen, and I was awed, but after several times of listening to him my eardrums started to show signs of exhaustion. He delivers his speeches like a televangelist, which explains why he was the most applauded during the forum. He’s a cross between Bro. Edddie Villanueva and your favorite Amway sales representative. (I am considering voting for him, though.)

Manny Villar

Manuel Villar is hounded by scandals of corruption even before he has held office. His paid interview with Boy Abunda that could have cost him millions is too long to be effective and too dragging to be entertaining.

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Noli de Castro has not proved anything during his short stint as senator and his accomplishments as vice president are forgettable. He lacks enough political experience to run a country that is as complex as most complicated definition of the word complex is.

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Manuel Roxas lacks charisma which explains his strongly advertised engagement with news anchor Korina Sanches, a case of basking in the newsreader’s masa appeal. He inspires in me an image of a henpecked husband once his union with Korina is officially consummated. Any of Mar Roxas’s accomplishments was obliterated by his Padyak ad; he should think of means to undo the damages the ad has caused in the viewing public’s psyche.

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Francis Escudero may have exuded confidence and youth, somebody who can usher new politics in the country, but based on his recent media interviews on his platform of government, this man is all but empty rhetoric and vacuous monotone.

Bayani Fernando

Bayani Fernando is a man who never strived to be popular in exchange by and give up the hard changes he viewed necessary. Manila may not be as organized or as livable as say Singapore (kidding) or as any Southeast Asian megalopolis but as chairman of MMDA he has made major strides to lessen the traffic jams and to make the people abide by the rules. Still so much is needed to be done. But Fernando is a no non-sense guy who walks the talk. (I’m also considering him.)

Joseph Estrada

Former President Joseph Estrada. We cannot allow this country to be run by a thief, again.

The election in 2010 is as crucial as any other elections in the past. I do not agree that this is more important that the previous ones. This will simply give us a chance to change the way our country is governed that for the next six years. If we botch this one, it means another six years of again waiting in vain. That, I believe, is something we cannot afford.

A single vote, that is my vote, will hardly matter, but I am willing to tread several streams again, with my lola if she is still alive by then, to cast my vote this time.