What is it about people of influence who “endorse” politicians? What’s in it for them? From where I sit, it seems that an endorsement by a well-connected opinion shaper seems to be some kind of affirmation of one’s importance. When who I will vote for is worn on my sleeve, and becomes something people make a fuss about, hey, I must be important.
That bit of amateur psychology on my part that I apply to the question I start this article with makes it a bit real for me. It’s all harmless of course — that is, if you are an average schmoe with a relatively small sphere of influence. But for people who exert immense influence over entire societies and, more importantly, are actually aware of this power, well, motives become suspect.
Rather than elaborate further, I will instead illustrate my point with a brief history of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) religious sect:
1986: The INC supports President Ferdinand Marcos over then leader of the “Opposition” Corazon Aquino (Noynoy Aquino’s mother).
1998: The INC supports Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s successful bid for the presidency.
2004: The INC endorses Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her campaign for President of the Philippines.
2010: The INC endorses Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas as future President and Vice President of the Philippines.
… and an even briefer history of the late former President Corazon Aquino’s endorsements:
2001 Edsa II “revolution
2008 Ayala Avenue
Two noted Filipino icons (the earlier a religious sect, the latter a revered “hero”) and four of the most nefarious political leaders in recent Filipino history all together in one Web page containing a succinct message in the form of a question:
Who owns your vote in this year’s presidential election?
It’s time we start re-thinking if people who presume to “endorse” politicians still have a place in 21st Century Philippine politics. It is all up to us. And that is the whole point of being a democracy.
“Hall of shame: Philippine street ‘revolutions’“, GetRealPhilippines.com
“Iglesia ni Cristo: Church at the crossroads“. The Truth about Iglesia ni Christo – Manalo’s sect
“A most powerful union“, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
“GMA gets shepherds’ nod, will the flock follow?“, ReligionNewsBlog
“Iglesia Ni Cristo leader endorses Noynoy, Mar“, ABS-CBNnews.com