Any act of persuasion that overcomes the free will and judgment of another, including exhortation, importunacy, insinuation, flattery, trickery and deception may practically amount to undue influence. It is closely related to influence peddling which is an improper practice of using one’s influence in government or connections with persons in authority to obtain favors or preferential treatment for another in exchange for money or favors.
In the Philippines, Manalo’s Iglesia Ni Cristo or INC is the number one peddler of undue influence in government it being expert in using techniques mentioned above in exchange for political and economic favors. Incidentally, such practice bears the stench of corruption that is now threatening to suffocate the county’s democratic processes.
2. In brief: INC’s foundation date and initial developmental period
It was in 1913 when the INC’s “Last Messenger in the Last Days?” in the person of Felix Ysagun Manalo (a “religious butterfly” who until his death was unable to arrive at the truth) began preaching the INC doctrine denying the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Members of the first batch of his converts were baptized at the Pasig River in late 1913 (Reference: INC official magazine Pasugo, July 27, 1989 page 109 and Pasugo, May 1996 page 10).
However, this initial “evangelical” effort of the “Last Messenger” was rendered totally inutile when that particular period of Manalo’s propagation was ignored altogether and not recognized now as part of the developmental period of INC. Otherwise, the INC should have reckoned 1913 as its beginning and could have celebrated Centennial anniversary last year 2013 instead of this year 2014. Be that as it may, it can’t be denied that the Last Messenger of INC, slowly but surely was able to gain adherents especially during post WWII period due primarily to factors enumerated below:
a) Many members of the predominant Catholic Church were dissatisfied with the glaring wrong and unbiblical practices of their Church, rendering them as easy prey for deception and eventual recruitment.
b) The fostering of extreme fraternal solidarity within the INC organization so that others could be lured to join (just like in fraternities) by the promise of strong kinship and political connections. Hence, the implied sense of security and protection, for some people, had been the primary motivation and consideration.
c) The sponsoring of various radio/TV programs that promote “guided” political views and awareness. The purpose was to motivate audience to be nationalistic (albeit misguided) so that INC could appeal to that sense of nationalism and be identified with the masses. Likewise, the INC, if it would serve their interest, used to ride on people’s valid political grievances to the extent of demonstrating its crowd drawing capacity during politically sponsored mass mobilization. More often, mass mobilization was being done insidiously under the guise of evangelical mission with same ulterior motive of gaining political and economic leverage from intended political target personalities. It must be noted that INC had since been operating by the political principle: “There is no such thing as permanent enemy, only permanent interest”. In other words, an INC enemy today could become an INC friend tomorrow for obvious self serving reason. Such had been the character of INC being a political church. It is a “political butterfly” whose founder was a “religious butterfly”. It made sense for people with extreme sagacity for opportunism.
d) INC had adopted the BIG LIE propaganda line of Adolf Hitler’s Master Propagandist Joseph Goebbels who said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. BIG LIE which simply meant RECYCLED GOSSIP had since been used by INC, not only in its passionate desire to demonize its detractors. BIG LIE had since been used also in its advertising and propagation of INC’s exaggerated membership estimates. The purpose of which was to create artificial bandwagon effect and exude added aura of strength. Such kind of strategy could most likely be the reason why an intellectual person, a Hitler avid admirer up to date had joined the INC. Read: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/14/world/asia/14iht-lawyer14.html?_r=1
3. If you cannot lick them, join them
It came to pass that the INC (even without its Last Messenger who died on April 12, 1963) was at least able to lure some more adherents to its fold under Eraño Manalo, the son who succeeded his father who was the Last Messenger. The successor continued with the BIG LIE and he did up the ante even more: INC, with its 6 to 8 Million members and 3 to 4 Million voters could deliver the winning votes to national candidates during election. In 1992 Presidential election, INC endorsed the candidacy of Danding Cojuanco one (1) month prior to date of election. But despite that much ballyhooed INC bloc voting, the INC anointed candidate miserably lost, landing third among five candidates. More about this on this link: http://esoriano.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/the-knowledge-of-counting-is-wisdom/
With such humiliating debacle, the INC realized the futility of endorsing candidates a month or weeks prior to the date of election. Their actual membership count which was just a fraction of the bloated figure fed to co-opted media could not really ensure election victory. Hence, to preclude future embarrassment as consequence of its solid bloc voting circus, the INC from then on had to shift into endorsing candidates a few days before election.
The idea was to rely first on the election survey results conducted by perceived credible survey firms. Candidates who were leading (based on latest surveys) and who had sought the INC support were finally being endorsed 2 or 3 days prior to day of election. Final endorsement of course was being made after surreptitious forging of special package of political “deal” with the chosen “sure winner” candidates. Upon assumption to office of anointed candidates, it would be time for political payback in favor of INC and this fraternal church would be bound to enjoy every minute of it. Indeed, the INC had not been wanting when it comes to innovations on trickery and deception to satisfy its selfish ends.
4. Why do we allow this?
In a very scathing article against Manalo’s INC written by Conrado de Quiros, a renowned columnist of The Philippine Daily inquirer, he said and I partly quote:
“…Why do we allow the INC to begin with to interfere in elections? We know that INC members vote as a bloc for the candidates of their leaders’ choosing. We know this because that church doesn’t bother to hide it; it parades it as one of the reasons for joining it or currying its favor. At least the Catholic Church believes in giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God’s the things that are God’s. This one believes in socking it to Caesar, or sucking up to Caesar, in God’s name. This is out-and-out flouting of the separation of Church and State, a thing expressly forbidden in a democracy. And yet we see no law stopping it, and yet we see only politicians seeking to profit from it.
Just as well, why do we allow a church to act according to the motto: “We don’t care if he’s an SOB so long as he’s our SOB” ? At least we howled in pain when the Catholic Church acted that way. At least we roared in anger when the bishops started saying things like, “Everybody cheats, anyway,” and “Let’s move on.” Why the silence on this one? Because they’re smaller? Because they do things more quietly, preferring the backdoor to the front one? Well, they may be smaller or quieter, but actions speak louder than words.”…
Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/29267/why-do-we-allow-this…
The answer to his question is simple: Because what we have in the Philippines is a corrupt system of patronage politics as consequence of INC’s institutionalyzing “undue influence in government” for the past 101 years! … TO BE CONTINUED.