MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona has been formally invited to attend the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) grand evangelical mission at the Quirino Grandstand this afternoon.
Aside from Corona, the associate justices of the High Court are also invited, as well as Court Administrator and SC spokesman Atty. Jose Midas Marquez.
There is no word, however, whether the Chief Magistrate and Justices will be able to attend since Tuesday is En Banc session day at the High Tribunal.
A total of 4,374 INC local congregations nationwide will participate in the evangelical mission. It is expected to gather at least 1 million members from its 5 ecclesiastical districts in Metro Manila, and other districts in Bulacan and CALABARZON.
In an official release, the INC says its central theme is "proclaiming the truth of God's words written in the Holy Bible."
Described as the largest independent church in Asia, the INC was officially registered in 1914 by its first Executive Minister, Felix Manalo.
His grandson, Eduardo Manalo, is now the church's Executive Minister.
Simultaneous evangelical missions in other parts of the country will also be held today.
The following are the venues for these local missions:
Isabela Sports Complex, Isabela;
Jose V. Yap Sports and Recreational Complex, San Jose, Tarlac;
Gloria Town Plaza, Oriental Mindoro;
Pili Freedom Sports Complex, Pili, Camarines Sur;
La Union Natl High School Sports Complex, San Fernando City, La Union;
Paglaum Sports Complex, Bacolod City;
Cebu City Fuente Osmena;
Tacloban City Convention Center;
Pagadian City Gym, Zamboanga del Sur;
Limketkai Center, CDO;
Davao Agro-football Station, Davao City;
General Santos City Gym;
La Paz Plaza, Iloilo;
Butuan City Sports Complex;
Odiongan Sports Complex, Odiongan, Romblon;
Puerto Princesa Coliseum, Palawan;
Coron Gym, Palawan; and,
Sta. Cruz Plaza, Sta Cruz, Marinduque.
UP Political Science Prof. Grace Jamon, a fellow of the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, said the INC's prayer rally is also meant to influence senator-judges in favor of the impeached chief justice.
"[Ito'y] Para i-sway not only public opinion but also maybe the senators to support Corona. It is their way of trying to pressure maybe the members of the impeachment court who may be running in 2013," Jamon said.
She said it's hard to imagine that the INC's prayer rally is not linked to Corona's impeachment trial.
"Ang laki-laki nila [INC rally], at timing na timing sa mga nangyayari sa impeachment, so mahirap paniwalaan na yun ay hindi politically motivated," Jamon said.
The INC is believed to be an influential force in the Philippine political landscape because of its capacity to deliver at least 2 million votes through 'bloc voting' to politicians endorsed by its leaders. -- with a report from Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News