President Aquino makes ‘political appeals’ to INC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Benigno Aquino III made an early morning visit on Monday (May 2) to the Iglesia ni Cristo Central compound and met with Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.

The president admitted he made some “political appeals” to the executive minister, a few days before the forthcoming May 9 polls.

“First nagpapasalamat muna ako dahil talaga namang nadama natin ang suporta throughout the administration and even before I have been in office,” Mister Aquino said.

“Tapos parang sharing also the vision of sana what happened after I stepped down from office— usual appeals and political appeals. As usual maganda ang pagkatanggap sa atin ni Ka Eduardo, I have no complaints but to say thanks for all the support.”

[Translation: First, I’m expressing my gratitude for the support, which we really felt throughout the administration and even before I have been in office. We made some sharing also of the vision of what would happen after I (step) down from office—usual appeals and political appeals. As usual, I was warmly welcomed by Ka Eduardo, I have no complaints but to say thanks for all the support.]

President Aquino, on the otherhand, did not elaborate on his “appeals.”

Instead, he said that his administration’s political campaign “tuwid na daan” [straight path] has proven to have delivered progress in the country, and that it should be continued.

“I really was very pleased to see people are looking for jobs here as opposed to preferring to look for work abroad, so there is a belief that there are jobs available, there are good jobs, so the ideal of yes we can progress in this country rather than having to go abroad, will get that sense of progress,” said President Aquino.

“Sa amin lang nakita naman nyo ang pruweba, yung tinatawag nating daang matuwid,” he added.

[Translation: On our part, you have seen the proof of what we call straight path.]

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma in a statement, quoted the president saying he asked for the meeting with INC.

"I thanked him for the support he and his brethren have extended to us. I enumerated the gains under Daang Matuwid. Lastly I expressed the hope that these gains will not only be continued but built upon in the future," the president's statement read.

Also read: Poe meets with one of INC's top officials

The INC is known to deliver a bloc vote to candidates its leadership will endorse to its followers.

Despite reports that the INC leadership will give its blessings to particular candidates, the religious sect has not formally expressed its support for anyone.

Also read: Duterte presents platforms to INC’s executive minister Manalo

In the end, the president only had this to say: “Nasa sa inyo kung ipagpapatuloy ito at lalo pang mapapalakas. So ang dulo, parati naming sinasabi, boss namin ang taong bayan, hintayin naming ang hatol ng taong bayan kung ano ang gusto ng mga boss natin.”

[Translation: It’s up to you if you will continue this or to strengthen it further. So at the end, as we always say, the public is our boss, we will wait for the public’s judgement whatever our boss prefers.]

Also read: INC officials non-committal during Roxas-Robredo visit

Meanwhile, INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala, in a text message to CNN Philippines, declined to share any information about the meeting between Manalo and Aquino.

Zabala said he was not in the meeting and has not received instruction to release any statement.

CNN Philippines’ Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.