“To implement the law without fear or favor … and do justice to every man” is an inspiring articulation of purpose that formed part of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s pledge before the Filipino people on two occasions when she had assumed office as President of the Republic of the Philippines. Very unfortunately, however, not only had she failed twice, but worse, her nine (9)-year old governance, with its inherent infirmities had ravaged the nation’s political, social and economic lifeline.
Forced upon the Filipino people in 2001 “power grab” by society’s elite, vested interest groups and military clique, the Arroyo regime became a willing hostage of patronage politics in its ugliest mutation. It kept wallowing in the mud hole of indecent political collaboration with its ill motivated and self-centered cohorts and patrons for mutual gain. Such a hideous situation turned out to be the foundation of a detestable kind of political impropriety and devious machinations in the furtherance of its continued political existence and in so doing, prostituted our cherished democratic processes.
In a very shameless fashion, the Arroyo administration was into creative, systematic and well organized methods of graft & corruption in trying to satisfy its insatiable economic and political greed. Consequently, many high profile corruption cases (Fertilizer Fund Scam, ZTE-NBN botched deal, North Rail Project, NAIA Terminal 3 Project and many others) involving top officials were unearthed.
In all those cases however, the primary suspects (FG, Jocjoc Bolante, Romulo Neri and many others) are coddled and secured. On the other hand, witnesses and whistle blowers (like Jun Lozada, Gen. Gudani, Ador Maoanay, and others) were silenced by way of bribery, threats and some other possible means. These were then common knowledge known to Filipino people who were responsible for giving GMA a shameful negative fifty four per cent (- 54%) satisfaction rating, the lowest in the history of Philippine presidency.
Foremost among Arroyo’s political investors was the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) of the Manalo family who supported her during the 2004 election for the presidency. The event marked the beginning of the Arroyo’s political indebtedness to Manalo family notwithstanding her “winning” the presidency, not through the votes of INC but by way of her strategy known as “Hello Garci”.
Thereafter, the political clout that this administration had bestowed upon the INC together with other similarly situated coteries (as gesture of political payback) was cleverly capitalized in the furtherance of devious motives. The political whims and caprices of INC and other political investors were usually accommodated. Consequently, the grave abuse in the exercise of shared political power had contributed immensely to the propagation of selective administrations of justice, socio-religious discriminations, extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances.
As we, members of the Church of God International better known as Ang Dating Daan (ADD) express our utmost indignation against this political syndication, we are constantly aware of the “clear and present danger” from the opposite end of a tilted political balance that the past administration had created. Due to the relentless expositions by our spiritual leader, Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano about corrupt and un-biblical practice in religion, the favored INC had become indiscriminate and tenacious.
INC ministers had resorted to measures, legal or otherwise, to deflect embarrassment from failure, for example, to defend their blasphemous, nonsensical and un-biblical doctrine that says “Christ is not divine”. Hence, innumerable instances of INC initiated persecutions; violence, harassment, character vandalism and intolerance have rained upon us. Police records can attest that scores of us were injured seriously and there were those who perished as consequences of outrageous INC brutality.
We therefore reiterate our strongest condemnation against these serious violations of our human rights and religious freedom brought about by an indecent political affair between the Arroyo government and its political investor INC. The illicit relationship and “under-the-table” intercourse between them had resulted in the procreation of injustices birthed by INC in manners and circumstances as follows:
• The INC sponsored raids of ADD religious compound in Apalit, Pampanga on two occasions (Feb. 01, 2002 and Dec.16, 2005) to serve warrant of arrest for libel case and executed with overdose of police assistance on the wee hours of the morning. The raids that only served to demonstrate brutality were glaring desecration of ADD religious freedom to which the Arroyo government did not care about despite documented protest on the matter.
• Contrary to INC disinformation, the Jollibee encounter in Apalit, Pampanga between ADD members and INC mob was not a free-for-all. The fourteen (14) seriously injured ADD members were victims of mob attack by the INC bullies who outnumbered their victims five (5) to one (1). Due to INC influence with local police, the serious wounds of ADD members were ridiculously deemed self inflicted, hence, the hapless victims were the ones charged with frustrated homicide instead of INC members who suffered no injury.
• Public news have it that Nickson Icao and Felizardo “Ka Zaldy” Lumagham, both of Macabebe, Pampanga and who were reported to be members of INC, (the latter, a deacon) were charged before the San Fernando prosecutors office for the brutal shooting to death of Marcos Mataro in April 2008. Mataro was a former INC minister who joined the ADD and was actively engaged in the exposition of INC deceptions when he was murdered. Until now, however, both INC suspects have yet to be accounted for by the police.
• With tremendous influence, the INC has that privilege to nominate and have its protégés appointed as top level bureaucrats or even Supreme Court Justices as in the case of Justice Presbiterio Velasco who eventually penned the decision upholding the three (3) months suspension of Ang Dating Daan (ADD) TV program. It is ironic though that same rule did not apply to INC which was earlier similarly situated having a row with MTRCB’s X-rated classification that initially banned its religious program. Unlike in the case of ADD, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of INC. (Ref: Shadow of Doubt book by Maritess Vitug)
• The INC also has the capacity to intervene and influence the outcome of high profile cases such as: the Ruby Rose Barrameda-Jimenez murder case and the Jason Ivler trial for murder. (Ref: Michael Punongbayan and Evelyn Macairan of The Philippine Star, March 20, 2010.
Above stated facts and situations were only culled from the long list of human rights abuses and persecutions committed by vested interest collaborators against us most especially against Bro. Eli. As we had been struggling to contain this vicious campaign of harassment, we could only find solace to the reality that it was all over for the Arroyo regime.
Finally, we hope that the dawning of a new day as a consequence of the nation’s highly anticipated socio-economic and political development this time, under a new government, would provide President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the added political will … to implement the law without fear or favor… and do justice to every man.
MAY THE GOOD LORD BLESS AND KEEP US!