Lessons from INC’s street tantrums
Well, what did the people learn from this recent “show of force” by the Iglesia ni Cristo? The thousands of INC followers that paralyzed traffic at Padre Faura and then Edsa, thus causing great inconvenience to the general public, showed even more how weak the Aquino administration really is. It reminded me of the Luneta hostage crisis which occurred at the start of this administration’s term. While the public watched in horror the hostage-taking on TV and, at a time when a leader was needed to assure a horrified public that the government was in control, President Aquino was nowhere to be found!
It also confirmed that when it comes to protecting self-interest, politicians will show their true colors. Foremost among them, of course, was Vice President Jejomar Binay (no surprise there!) and Sen. Chiz Escudero.
But, to a great many, the biggest disappointment was Sen. Grace Poe. Her defense of the INC’s confrontational behavior: that, as quoted in Inquirer’s Sept. 2 editorial, “Politicians pandering,” “these people are fighting for their faith; their rights need to be protected.” Before this incident, I’m sure many believed that among the “presidentiables,” Senator Poe topped them all when it came to honesty, clean conscience and plain, rational common sense. What a letdown!
I mean, how hard was it to understand that the issue was not about government violating the INC’s right or interfering in the INC’s internal affairs; rather, it was about a serious crime—illegal detention—alleged by one of the INC’s former ministers and his family against some INC bigwigs. It had no bearing at all with the doctrine of separation of church and state.
Clearly with the elections approaching, and possibly encouraged by the survey polls to seek a higher position, it was obvious that Poe, along with Escudero, didn’t want to risk losing the INC’s much vaunted “block votes.”
Most surprising was learning that in this age of advanced information technology, there are still thousands (millions?) of narrow-minded people who will blindly follow whatever their leaders tell them to do without questioning the order’s rationality or sanity.
The protest came to an end as suddenly as it started. But the question remaining in everybody’s mind now is: What concession did government allow the INC to make the church and rally end? Until either side opens up with honesty about the “agreement,” the question will continue to haunt the public.
But I’m also inclined to believe that because of the public anger over the inconvenience the demonstrations caused motorists and commuters, the INC leaders started to feel the backlash and decided to end the drama before it could do further damage to the INC’s image.
But what did they accomplish? Well, besides the disorder and confusion they created, they left tons of garbage on the streets they occupied during their “tantrum.” Indeed, if that’s what the INC is all about, I wonder how the God they worship feels about it. Or do the INC followers care at all?
—JUANITO T. FUERTE, [email protected]
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