MANILA - Candidates of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) will have to work on their own if they want an endorsement from Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), the party head said Wednesday.
INC, an influential sect known for bloc voting, is usually approached by politicians for endorsement.
HNP chairperson, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said the candidates being endorsed by her regional party must individually seek the endorsement of the INC since they belong to various political parties.
“We leave it to the individual candidates to make their own arrangements. As a group hindi, kasi ‘di naman sila members ng HNP so baka hindi pumayag na ganoon ang gagawin namin,” Duterte-Carpio told reporters at the sidelines of HNP’s campaign sortie in Parañaque.
Duterte-Carpio acknowledged that an INC endorsement can spell the differences in the tight senatorial race. The INC has some 1.7 registered voters, according to the last election’s estimates.
In the 2016 elections, INC endorsed then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and then-Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Duterte won, while Marcos lost to then-Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
HNP candidate, reelectionist Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, who was endorsed by the INC in 2013, said he would not directly seek the sect’s endorsement, but he has communicated to the group his accomplishments as a lawmaker.
“I don’t really ask for it, nakakahiya naman… Iyung mga napasa kong bills, I report to them, especially yung Universal Health Care and the creation of the Department of Housing,” Ejercito told reporters during HNP’s campaign sortie in Parañaque.
Meanwhile, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, another HNP bet, said some people are helping him secure an endorsement from the INC. He did not elaborate.
“Subukan natin. Hindi naman natin masasabing 100 percent. Lahat naman nag-aasam ng ganoon. Magdadasal tayo. Lahat ng suporta kailangan eh, just like what I did last 2016,” Tolentino told reporters.
(Let's try. We can't say 100 percent. We all want full support. We will pray. We need all the support we can get.)
Former reporter Jiggy Manicad also acknowledged INC can help boost his candidacy.
“Mahalaga iyon kasi ang pinag-uusapan numbers pa rin. Sa bawat eleksyon naman numbers, so ang isang malaking grupo na bumoto sayo kahit hindi religious group ay malaking tulong para makakuha ka ng boto,” he said.
(That's important because we are talking about numbers. If a huge group votes for you, even if not a religious group, that's a huge help.)