The INC forest fire: Politics corrupts, corrupt politics corrupts absolutely, even religion

INC studyINC dot com

[Photo credit: studyiglesianicristo.com]

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By Popoy Del. R. Cartanio

The title begs with sincerest apologies to Lord Acton who said in almost the same tune the power syndrome, now almost a clichéd broken record: “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”.  Power and politics, they are not brothers like the thief and the liar as declared by the clean as a whistle Ms. Susan Roces, the childless wife who adopted a foundling for a daughter. The relations between politics and power could be strongest as father and son, where politics is the father which sires power, man’s strongest tendon, yet his Achilles’ heel.

It’s a long shot, but it is exactly what might have happened to the Iglesia the Cristo. It started as a reverse objective, that religion may so influence politics towards moral dogma; that political support emanating from piety may rub some sheen to the tarnished practice of politics. Politics, after all, can be the be-all and cure-all for ills of society by its definition: “Politics is the art of the possible; all is fair in love and in war and in politics.” Politics, like David Easton, I say, is power to allocate monetary and moral values in society.

To write something about the INC (Iglesia ni Cristo) by a non-member and non-believer, one must have even just an iota of knowledge and experience about the religion and a few members. Let an anecdote do away with the social science jargon. It’s about friendship from grade five. A friend whom I last saw twelve years ago. I wonder if he is still alive. He was Iglesia, an ophan whose father and mother got killed during the Japanese occupation in WWII. Class topnotcher, he was also good in larong holen (marble games) and in executing the muscle building ten numbers in baras (chinning the bar). I’ll call him Pepito (not his name).

Pepito asked me to be present when ministers of his Church trained him for the national oratorical contest of the INC during its annual anniversary celebration. I was introduced to the ministers as a friend who had attended school where oratorical contests are held for all grades. And so I had to give comments after every practice. I attended maybe once their Kulto or worship session and got to talking to some of them. They prayed with eyes closed and seemed to be so focused and undistracted.

I vividly recall their capilla (chapel) with used G.I. sheets for roof; the pews were made of bamboo with no back rest or arm rest. The chapel floor was dark hard soil.

The faithful who attended their services were few compared with the Catholics attending mass at the poblacion church. It’s been many years now and that little make-shift chapel has been transformed and now looks like a little chapel with Disneyland architecture. Those little and medium sizes palaces of worship have mushroomed in many a humble town in the Philippines.

Well, my friend Pepito and I attended that National Foundation Day attended by members from all over the country. It was held at a sprawling Provincial High School Campus. The grounds and the bleachers were almost full of happy and smiling people. After all, all are more than friends, as brothers and sisters, young or old. How can one forget seeing giggling (reservedly, of course) girls give confidence to hesitant boys to start introductions and conversation? That’s a day I became a torpe no more, mixed with the girls and being a teen age brother to all, ready to shake the hands of young and old. But Pepito had to deliver his oratorical piece and win the national contest.

Before the start of the contest, Pepito pulled me aside and said I got to help him choose whom to court as his future wife. He intimated to me that, being an orphan with no resources for college studies, he planned after high school to look for a good job and settle down. I really did not know about them, the young lasses I mean. He told me where they are sitting and how they differ though they are both pretty. One was of fair complexion about to finish her studies to be a teacher, from a relatively well off  family; the other one was equally attractive but radiated the sophistication of more humble beginnings and status.

Pepito told me that I should position myself where I could watch and observe the two girls while he delivered his oration. I should remain unnoticed is the reason why he did not introduce me to them before hand. Pepito orated flawlessly. Afterwards, we discussed my observation of the two based on subjective criteria: Who seemed to be more attentive, ardent and interested or smitten by his oration? I think Pepito in a manner of speaking won two golds that day. He chose the right girl to court and married her. I can’t say but suspected by her reaction to his speech that he was her choice, too, long before that speech. Pepito’s family grew and extended to his grandchildren I later learned, as a dream come true.

Amorsolo-Young-Girl

[Photo credit: Wikipedia]

I had no more contact with INC after that national event but heard about them years later. I think I was able to visit the little Chapel in Tipaz(?) Taguig where the INC founder Felix Manalo started his ministry. Much later, a lady friend, a teaching colleague, told of the story how the INC founder had to observe in her class to make sure that her pupil (is that now Tenny the Grandma?), the chosen bride for his son, will be the right choice. I had imagined her then that she could look like that beautiful Filipina in Amorsolo’s painting, a striking model of a young innocent Susan Roces or the eighties’ Janice de Belen.

How also with pride and glowing words (as the grade school teacher of the wife of the INC Chief Minister) my co-teacher would tell us what happened every time she was invited to a celebration in the INC palace in Quezon City. How the INC guests were accorded respect and friendship; how the high and mighty guests and church functionaries were served with the same food as those of  all INC urban and rural Kapatids. That’s a long digression not even enough reason to narrate my respect and understanding of a religious community.

Getting side-tracked is not the purpose of this piece. Rather, it’s the attempt to strip off the negligee that covers the nakedness of politics as power and call attention to the vulnerability of religion, like the INC, to its charm and temptation. It is not far-fetched to think that from early on, even to this day, many leaders and followers of INC thought politics had positive impact on their well being; more, as being part and parcel of their dogma, to influence the choice of leaders of larger communities that also govern their own.

INC began when being poor was sublime, less stressful, less traumatic, less politicized; when power of the ballot grows not out of the spittle of a politicians mouth. When it was so unlike the reign of Pope Alexander VI and later during Jose Rizal’s time when it was religion that corrupted politics. Very rarely, perhaps, when cyber science and growing materialism will reverse that, the inroads of politics can corrupt religion. Put another way, the way of bad politicians can change the ways of even good pastors, not vice versa.

It is really common sense, possessed even by the illiterate man in the street. Politics and Religion, like Oil and Water, do not mix. As a (thermal) energy source, oil is stronger and will likely pollute water rather than clean it. In much the same way, water, as a (hydro) energy source, will not dominate or clean dirty oil. It’s really so simple an issue that few brainwashers have not thought about it. It is embedded in the wisdom is the word of Jesus Christ of which He seemed to be its first victim:  “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s .”

On Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death, Pontius Pilate did not wash his hands. “I  can not and will not sentence Him to death. He did not break any Caesar’s Law. You say He is a blasphemer, He broke your law. You do it.”  That’s what Pontius Pilate allegedly said to Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest. In so doing, Pilate was the very first Roman governor to attempt to implement the separation of the church from the state.

Now on the seething lava emitting sounds and smoke beneath the INC volcano involving members of the founding family and the current council of ministers, the humble bible could provide the exit door as it is antedated only by the Ten Commandments, later to be the basis of all human laws. The key to that exit door lies maybe, just maybe, on the nimble parable of the prodigal son.

Better still, think of the USA, Britain, Canada, France and other Scandinavian countries of unmixed or separate stable  politics and stable religion as they seemed to have respected Caesar’s and God’s domains.

And finally, the imperative remains, to write the asymmetrical piece: when politics and power are nothing but a chameleon concept transforming itself at will to be good or bad if it is not pestering King Solomon for a judgment on which comes first, the hen (politics) or the egg (power)? Egg lovers (power brokers) are likely to persuade King Solomon: Don’t decapitate, please spare mother hen, just break the egg. And behold the egg got the Solomonic decision to save the neck of the chicken (politics). So Father the politics and Son the power live on and on in clueless societies.

BUT in heaven’s name, how could the biblical parable of the prodigal son be a relevant spin-off, much more solve the issues now confronting the INC? Those who pray, live and die by the gun, este by their bible, should live and resolve their problems by their bible: a  probable sequel piece to this guest blog. ****

 

Comments
89 Responses to “The INC forest fire: Politics corrupts, corrupt politics corrupts absolutely, even religion”
  1. i7sharp says:

    One often comes across the mention “bible” or “biblical.”

    What does it mean?

    To start to get an idea, why not google for “bible of the iglesia ni cristo”?

    I actually did; the first result I got was this:
    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/iglesia-ni-cristo

    Do Catholics or “Iglesias” (INCs) or their leaders know exactly where or which the “bible” is?

    If so, can someone here specify the bible used by Catholics or INCs?

    i7sharp

  2. i7sharp says:

    “The INC forest fire: Politics corrupts, corrupt politics corrupts absolutely, even religion”
    ———

    Here is “corrupt” or its derivatives … in the Bible:
    http://j.mp/i7kj-01
    x-
    “*corrupt*”
    occurs 88 times in 78 verses in the KJV
    Page 1 / 4 exact matches (Gen 6:11 – Isa 38:17)
    -x

    Here is 1 of the 88:
    “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God.”

    i7sharp

  3. andrewlim8 says:

    First, welcome to Popoy for a good piece. For now, I pose questions to those who may know the answers:

    1. How is the Manalo family regarded inside the INC? Are they treated like supernatural beings, with divine origins? Is their power hereditarily transmitted?

    2. I am aware of how highly political/business leveraged the INC is – from the appointees to the Customs, the LTO, judiciary, etc.

    They even attempted to save Renato Corona. In EDSA 3, some of the goons were supplied by the INC.

    • “1. How is the Manalo family regarded inside the INC? Are they treated like supernatural beings, with divine origins? Is their power hereditarily transmitted?”

      As what my Reverend Pastor Guillermo Bergado said, Manalo is considered to be and ANGEL. Some of their faithful does believe it too.

      :2. I am aware of how highly political/business leveraged the INC is – from the appointees to the Customs, the LTO, judiciary, etc. ”

      Please include the chief of police and some high ranking general in the Phil. Army

  4. Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

    Well, jameboy, este Popoy…I was expecting more tidbits on their financial aspects, how they were able to discipline their followers to consistently give tithes, offerings or other types of fund raising, knowing that their troubles nowadays are related to how their funds are managed. Pepito was very open except in that area.

    I have heard before that they were required to compulsary give 10% of their income, aside from other types of contributions….later some members are denying this, it is strictly voluntary, they say which is which? For so long we have held this belief of compulsory contribution in INC.

    I asked because I’m impressed with their finacial discipline, how they were able to build for themselves these beautiful and elegant churches. Am equally impressed by their self discipline, how they really follow a dress code on their worship days.

    I have also a friend in grade school who was a former fervent practicing catholic…now I learned she is now a member of the INC, to this day I had not a chance to talk to her about this as she has migrated to the US with her family.

    They have incredible discipline, and that is why they are financially successful.

    But I have deep reservation and concern on their block voting style, that for me is not quite right.

    • Joe America says:

      jameboy non este Popoy, but nice try. 🙂 The Mormon Church in the US seems to me to be almost an exact brother to INC. Split off from the inadequate churches of the time. Incredible discipline and work ethic. Tithing discipline. Wealthy. Some of the best people in the world, honest, forthright. Never mind that their founder was made a prophet and at one time bigamy was accepted. The Mormon Church, to my knowledge, does not actively meddle in politics or insist on bloc votes. Maybe in Utah, their center, they do. Young members actively do missionary work around the world.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      The financial aspect and the issue of succession that Andrew highlights are intertwined.

      There are several models to choose from but the basic issue is whether to keep the money (a) in the family within reach or (b) in the church at arm’s length.

      Currently, the Manalo family is the church… and the schism appears to be not doctrinal but material, between those in the family who prefer option (a) as opposed to those who have chosen option (b).

      So far, the Manalos have followed the House of Windsor dynasty model, wherein the executive minister is a direct heir of the founder. As the royal family has shown, there is no downside to this… as long as one can find fecund females who can produce feisty males who can massage the message until kingdom come. The occasional hiccup such as represented by Prince Charles is not a problem as preaching skills, rather than primogeniture, is the rule. The other possible hiccup is the issue of female succession.

      Through three generations, the path of the church has been clear:

      Felix – founder
      Erano – internal and international expansion; founded university
      Eduardo – property acquisition and further internal and international expansion

      Angelo? – consolidation

      The first two Manalo’s were visionaries for church expansion. The incumbent Manalo seems to have lost the way as he sees expansion in different terms, more business rather than proselytization. Perhaps not. If he succeeds, who knows what the future holds? It is important to hold in mind that the vision of the church is far-reaching and global — the reestablishment of the Church of Christ in the Far East.

      If the state and the RCC are not careful, INC — with its comprehensive nurturing of the flock, in terms of housing and livelihood — will present an active third force. As it is, the church is already a political game changer,

      If the the family follows any other model than a dynastic model, say like the incorporation of the RCC, the protocols of succession may be partially or entirely separated from the Manalos, and the administration and expansion of the church may become less family-oriented and, thereby, more efficient.

      Eduardo is 59. His son Angelo is the heir presumptive. It is imperative for the church to attend to the question of succession beyond family bonds and a dynastic line.

      However, the church’s gain may be the family’s loss. In such a case, in the long run, the chances are matatalo ang Manalo.
      *****

      • The RCC, if the scant reports that I’ve read is accurate, is rich, too if not richer. They have vast landholdings, stock holdings, and other assets, but unlike the “INC with its comprehensive nurturing of the flock, in terms of housing and livelihood” they are depending on specific donations so they can feed the poor… I may not have he complete picture so I’ll stop there.

        They even have to request from GMA for cars and financial assistance or gifts for their birthdays. I hear that Napoles is one such kind benefactor to the aging bishops, that’s not bad, just that it could be more noble if the funds that she generously gave them came from the fruits of honest business/labor and not from evil schemes and manipulations…

    • jym says:

      There is no ‘tithing or mandatory 10% in INC’. Members give what their hearts dictate…I should know

  5. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Interesting.

    2. There are several theses here that require examination. I will not touch on the courtship rituals, in particular of the father vetting the son’s future wife. (Parenthetically, I might say that parents are naturally protective of the downward stream of the bloodline and exert all efforts to ensure its intermingling with the richest tributaries. Never more so than Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, who vowed that his daughter Bindy could only consort with suitors who had swum – and survived — the crocodile pond.)

    The theses are (in a reordering of my own):

    2.1 The parable of the Prodigal Son is the way out of INC’s problems
    2.2. That politics and religion should not mix.
    2.2.1. That INC may have lost its way, from its humble beginnings, when it sought to apply its righteousness to influence politics.
    2.2.2. That while religion corrupts politics, it is rare that politics corrupts religion.
    2.3. That the relation of politics and power is that as father to son.

    3. Prodigal Son. The suggestion here is that the current head of INC has strayed from his father’s house and should return to the ways of the father. If the suggestion is for the son to invest in and pursue the business of winning souls instead of the business of chasing after profit, then the suggestion is well made.

    4. Politics and Religion. The suggestion also encompasses the discontinuation of INC’s participation in politics. Indeed politics and religion should not mix – in either direction. INC’s participation is patently excessive as it seeks to exercise political power both indirectly and directly:

    o Indirectly by influence peddling (through bloc voting and other techniques)
    o Directly by penetration of the government bureaucracy and by the use of police/military muscle

    This suggestion is also well made.

    4.1. It may have initially been that religion was the handmaiden of politics, that the tribal chief used the witchdoctor/shaman/priests to direct his people. However, as its power grew, religion sought to make politics its handmaiden. In theocratic Islam we see the triumph of religion as such.

    4.2. It is quite clear that religion — because of its predetermined doctrines that dictate behaviour and its attempt to preserve these doctrines — does subvert politics. We see this in the unresolved issues surrounding sex, gender, marriage, death, sustainability and many more.

    4.3. I am not quite sure that the author intends to state that the reverse is true – that politics does subvert religion. In the context of the sentence that “the inroads of politics can corrupt religion”, he does seem to affirm that such is the case. However, the sentence, “Put another way, the way of bad politicians can change the ways of even good pastors, not vice versa,” is opaque to me.

    4.2.1. The obverse that “bad politicians can change the ways of even good pastors” is certainly true. This puts me in mind of GMA and the Mitsubishops, although it is arguable that the latter were good pastors.

    4.2.2. But what is the “untrue” reverse, the vice versa? Is it:

    a. That good pastors can change bad politicians?
    b. That good pastors cannot change bad politicians?
    c. That bad pastors can change good politicians?
    d. That bad pastors cannot change good politicians?
    e. That good politicians can change bad pastors?

    5. I am also not sure that politics is the father of power. Politics uses power… that is, power is a tool of politics, but power is not derived from it. At its finest, politics is the proper use of power. But the source of, and the justification for, power as exercised by rulers has always been inherited… either handed down from an ancestor or from god or from the party as before or from the people as now.

    6. It is to be fervently wished, as the author suggests, that INC – and the RCC — use their bible to resolve their problems… and to focus on teaching their flock to walk the godly path. It is surreal that a people so invested in religion can tolerate the candidacy of an “innovative” thief to lead them.
    *****

    • sonny says:

      Popoy’s article is “busy.” Many directions. Many thanks to edgar for a good map, Mary’s & andrew’s too.

      Interactions between religion and politics most times make for thoughtful pause. Being Filipino Catholic, for me the INC holds a chronic interest: this church’s theology, philosophy and ecclesiology, and currently its politics. Personally, my late grandaunt was a 100% devoted Catholic lost to INC because of scandal by priest (so my grandfather said).

      My impressions do not go beyond what most outsiders see: voting as a block, cookie-cutter church architecture and proliferation at the countryside, apparent cohesiveness as a community, with a logic that goes, since the Catholic Church is wrong INC must be right (my broad stroke, see also i7sharp’s link to catholic answers).

      “…The Iglesia tries to convince people of its doctrines not by proving they are right, but by attempting to prove the Catholic Church’s teachings are wrong.”

      Politically & socially, am just keeping an informed ear on the INC investigations and the Charlie Brown affair.

      • i7sharp says:

        From a fallible viewpoint of a finite mind:

        Nothing exposes the falsehood of or corruption in the INC and other religious organizations more than the Bible does.

        The Bible is “the word of God” … “the scriptures” that Jesus Christ spoke of:
        “Search the scriptures … they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39

        Will the INC or the Vatican or “Christian” churches tell you where or which the scriptures are?
        They probably don’t, or won’t … much less urge you to search “the scriptures.”

        Do they care about God’s dire warnings given in Revelation 22:18, 19?
        These two verses are found near the end of the very last chapter of the Bible:
        http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Revelation-22-18/
        If your church or spiritual mentor does not care, perhaps you SERIOUSLY should.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful ponderings on a wonderfully thought provoking article. For me, I think pastors and politicians are much the same, one advocating for God’s good will, and the other the People’s. But both have a corruptible self and together are like two buddies in a bar telling dirty jokes.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        An INC elder, a Catholic bishop, and an UNA politician walk into a bar…

        How can you tell which is which?
        *****

      • neo canjeca says:

        If I may surface not to praise but interject a short amaze, in the depths of what is said here, cleansed of the thoughts of clay, this space indeed is turning into a fitting place of opinions of honor. Joe Am again if I may be forgiven, smart-alecky say: pastors and politicians may be in some naked ways the same as rods they start as straight or bent, and musclemen knew it is easier to bend the straight (pastors) than it is to straighten the bent (politicians).

      • brazengod says:

        Hi Joe and Congrats. You made the main News High Ways… I think you made a good point here. The dialectic drama between the Sword and the Cross has always been around. The politicians trying to fool the psyche of the general populace and the Religious trying to reconfigure the heart and soul of the populace. Someday soon people will arrive at the truth. Salvation is not directly reciprocal with Religion but rather your salvation is a Gift a sort of Grace from God. Human actions do not save, Human actions for the good reflect our God-Like image to One Another so that the spirit of God pervades the Universe. In the same token … The Manalo people or any of their seed won’t be the key to my salvation. But the Family will continue to interfere in the Political Space and Discourse here in the Philippines. The internal issues about money is a natural down turn. You’re only human and thus your are somehow bound by hard-wiring to fail over the course of History… paki labas nalang mga ministro (bwahahaha joke!!!)

    • “it is rare that politics corrupts religion.”

      Estrada and GMA are the rare examples.. hence the term mitsubishops; also the ridiculous and laughable SC ruling on the GMA pardon of the convicted Estrada.

  6. josephivo says:

    The man Jesus the Nazarene, the Jesus of Peter, the Jesus described by the 4 Evangelists, the human, caring Jesus and Jesus Christ, the divine Jesus of Paul, the Son of God, the Leader of the world (see The Zealot, by Reza Aslan, 2013). As Filipinos hate to make a choice and mix meters and inches , common law and Roman law…all without any problem, the INC mixes both Jesus the man and Jesus the exclusive divine Leader of the world.

    History keeps repeating itself, it is fascinating to read d’ Holbach and Diderot in the 18e century and their vision on power and politics based on the inevitability and universality of the natural and the uncertainty and individuality of the supernatural. Don’t forget that until the French revolution power was an exclusive God given issue. The “give to God” thing was conveniently interpreted as identical to “give to Cesar” by all Christian rulers since Constantine in the 4e century with a constant arm wrestling in the West with the Pope.

    As everything influences everything, there are only 2 options: or the religion, the Church, is on top or the secular, the government is on top. A type of “caliphate”, the high priest with a God given authority rules or the secular, “we, the people”, has ultimate authority. Since the French revolution the last option is the common one. A Church can only generate influence by convincing a majority in a democratic society. This convincing of voters can happen by coercion or by giving insight. Direct participating with the hidden agenda of creating a “caliphate” has failed so far.

  7. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    There are chosen people. Therefore, there must be unchosen ones. Unfortunately, The Filipinos are absolutely not the chosen people. It could have been. Lapu-lapu killed, with the glee of Filipinos, the messenger of God, Magellan. God’s proxy sent wave after wave of Spanish messengers with “holy” bible on one hand and crucifix on the other in the form of a sword.

    I prayed to God. I work on my prayers to come true. It came true. Therefore, I am praying to myself, THE GOD.

    I AM GOD.

  8. methersgate says:

    It is worth noting that Lord Acton was a devout Catholic, and he said “*Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”* in areligious context – it was a remark about the asssertion, by the First Vatican Council, of the doctrine of Papal infallibility.

    Indeed the passage in which the well known words occur are worth quoting in full:

    * “…I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means..”*

  9. Johnny Lin says:

    Eight corners of a money oriented organization.
    Secrecy, discipline, hierarchal, regimented rites, violence, money, familial, blind followers or soldiers. Sound familiar?

    Historically, which organizations have these characterizations in common:
    Knights Templar(Mason)
    Mafia(Italian families)
    Yakuza(Japanese families)
    INC(Manalo family)-

    recent revelations of apparent kidnapping and selling of voting block to greedy politicians (long time rumored but not proven until now by those ministers in the know) have completed the octagon of power hungry families and close friends hiding behind an organized syndicate.

    When supreme power in a religious organization is handed down to a family like an inheritance or a kingdom or a communist nation, the entity is suspect as a money making business.

    INC after 100 years was headed by only one family. It is the only religion in the universe wherein the supreme leader rises up by inheritance. Did it mean that for one century, nobody among the members has excelled to become a supreme religious leader? Too good to be true. Even the papacy has evolved from electing only Italian cardinals.

  10. chempo says:

    Couple of months ago I stumbled upon some internet postings of what must be percursors to what’s happening in INC now. Apparently there are many disgruntled (or smart?) members who were trying to make their voices heard. Dissent was forebidden and these guys took to the internet. INC set up a sort of special IT Dept whose job it was to track down those disenting voices. Lots of cloak and dagger stuff there. Dissenters used false names, multiple IDs, switching IP addresses etc. Once identified they are severely reprimanded, ridiculed, harrassed, shamed, ostracised and even threatened with bodily harm.
    What’s true, what’s false, who cares. I never bothered about INC.

    • DAgimas says:

      shades of the Chinese Communist Party? I wonder why people still want to joint that religion?

      if they want protection or networking, they could join the masons..same benefit but not required to attend service 2x a week and definitely no spying

  11. @Joe quoted in the #SONA2015 ikaw na!

  12. SPECIAL MENTION JOE AMERICA PNOY’s LAST SONA…

  13. surfer sison says:

    Wow! congrats Joe America ! you were mentioned in the President Pnoy’s Sona !

  14. panget says:

    Hi Sir JoeAm! Congrats! You were mentioned in the SONA. I’m a fan. 🙂

  15. bauwow says:

    uncle Joe, Congratulations! You were quoted by Pnoy on his 6th SONA! He expressed his gratitude to your blog! Wow!!! Big Time!

  16. Hey Joe, off-topic to this, but congratulations, you were mentioned by the President in this year’s SONA.

  17. rOSARIO says:

    Sir JoeAm! CONGRATULATIONS! YOU and your Blog were mentioned by His Honorable, Excellency Pres. Benigno S.C. Aquino III.
    i was just to slow to take pics of it. sorry. still i have clapped with the same vigor when he mentioned that Anti-Dynasty Bill should be passed.
    Again, CONGRATS Sir JoeAm!

  18. Maseti says:

    Wow! You were quoted in the SONA sir!

  19. chit navarro says:

    WAY TO GO JOE AMERICA!!!!!
    YOU GOT THE PRESIDENT’S EARS & EYES SINCE 2012!!!!
    THAT WAS A 2012 QUOTE FLASHED IN THE SONA…

    YOU’VE EARNED YOUR BADGE AS AN AQUINO DEFENDER! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      JoeAm is now the OFFICIAL PNoy apologist! 🙂
      *****

      • NHerrera says:

        Here is another gold medal for you Joe — 🙂

        • NHerrera says:

          This is a big shot in the arm for Blog-sites, especially this one, with blog-topics and associated comments marked with varied but generally intelligent, logical, and balanced discussions — such as to be appreciated by a busy President.

      • neo canjeca says:

        If I may repeat here below after reading Joe Am’s unexpected mention in the SONA, what I said above this space:

        If I may surface not to praise but interject a short amaze, in the depths of what is said here, cleansed of the VESTED INTERESTS thoughts of clay, this space indeed is turning into a FITTING PLACE OF OPINIONS OF HONOR.
        Albeit NOW joke only , that Joe Am is already labelled an APOLOGIST.

  20. Annalissa says:

    You have been on the radar of the President! I am not surprised….

  21. Bing Garcia says:

    You made it to the SONA Joe!

  22. Percival says:

    Congratulations Joe! You deserve the President’s statement of gratitude in his SONA. 🙂

  23. Johnny Lin says:

    Congratulations Joe
    But, Wait a minute don’t gloat yet, SONA to Binay and his camp means you will be guarded in the perimeter of your home like in basketball.

    To hell with Binay, middle finger to him
    Many fist bumps to you
    and applause too.

    • Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

      I totally missed the SONA, the internet service went down again, today of all days!

      Just got back from the office, so I am not updated.

      Congrats, Joe, for the special mention in the SONA.

      I need to listen to the speech replay.

      • NHerrera says:

        Here is the link:

        http://www.interaksyon.com/article/114960/full-text-sona-2015–aquino-instructs-blames-chides-gives-thanks-in-final-address-to-congress

        The mention of Joe America occurs about 80% of the way from the start of the speech.

        • Many thanks, sir NHerrera….I can now sleep..

          that was an awesome speech…I had lumps in my throat…he is truly a masochist, he knows people are impatient, ungrateful and cruel, but he offered himself to his Bosses knowing it is near to impossible, that obstacles will be thrown his straight path by the corrupt and evil but he soldiered on……My eyes were moist when he said to his siblings and family….”just a little more time and I will no longer be one of your sacrifices.”..what a family!

          • chit navarro says:

            followed by the special mention of his housekeeper – what a gentleman and a President to do that!!!! and NO MENTION AT ALL OF THE VP except in the “official greetings” at the start. That’s all – not a part of his cabinet although he did mention even those who have resigned from his cabinet.

            WE are very lucky to have him as our President.

    • Yvonne says:

      Just to say that I’m happy to read, and am looking forward to reading, your posts @ Johnny Lin. We miss your posts at Raissa’s blog site.

  24. bauwow says:

    Uncle Joe! Magpainom ka naman! Kampai!!!

  25. i7sharp says:

    SONA 2015

    http://www.gov.ph/2015/07/27/president-aquino-sixth-sona/

    The link, [Read this in English], does not seem to work.

    i7sharp

  26. josephivo says:

    “Sa mga tulad ni Joe America, isang blogger na di ko man kakilala ay isinulat: “If the President were in my foxhole, I’d watch his back. That’s because I trust that he is watching mine.” Salamat sa iyo at sa iba pang dayuhang nagpamalas ng pakikiisa sa ating agenda ng pagbabago;”

    WOW 🙂

  27. Bing Garcia says:

    Aquino: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

  28. BFD says:

    I knew it. You’re in the Aquino’s inner circle, (wink) (wink) congrats to you having been included in the President’s 2015 SONA. However, I’m afraid this site is going to be lurking with trolls soon with the added fame.

  29. Gigi S says:

    have never really commented on any social media sites. but i feel ‘congratulations’ is in order.
    well done !!! our president must have drawn great comfort from your articles during his darkest times. and for that … i thank you. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Gigi, for your own kind words. Perhaps so. It’s a tough job he has, I think, with not a lot of thanks. For sure, I was touched that he would be so generous in his speech.

  30. maya pula says:

    Cheers Tito Joe, as an admirer of your site, ill cover for you too.

  31. Bert says:

    I’m just as proud as everyone. Congratulations, Joe.

    • Yvonne says:

      Congratulations JoeAm! You rightfully deserve the accolade of the President. More power to you. I’m happy to be part of your growing blog community.

  32. DAgimas says:

    i have no problem with their politicking. all interest groups have the right to push whats best for them. everybody do that. the businessmen, the PMAAA (notice that no PMAers have become a CS after Marcos?),

    I only take issue with the people they want elected or appointed. most have dubious accomplishments and records. Corona, Torres and so many more. Im no expert on facial recognition but just looking at their faces and you know that these people are not trustworthy

    im not picking on the INC. for sure the PCCI or MBC want the BIR chief sacked also

  33. Caliphman says:

    What Presidente Pinoy said about JoeAm:

    “…Sa mga tulad ni Joe America, isang blogger na di ko man kakilala ay isinulat: “If the President were in my foxhole, I’d watch his back. That’s because I trust that he is watching mine.” [Palakpakan] Salamat sa iyo at sa iba pang dayuhang nagpamalas ng pakikiisa sa ating agenda ng pagbabago;…….”

    I am sorry to say I am one of your most vocal critics, but fair is fair. Its not very often that an online blogger is directly conferred a president’s thanks and trust. Congratulations JoeAm!

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Caliphman. It is a Society of arguers at times, but we all do our best, eh? 🙂

      • jolly cruz says:

        Mr Joe, am so glad that there is someone who can show Filipinos what love of country is all about. You, Mr Joe loves the country more than most Filipinos.

        • Joe America says:

          I don’t think so, jolly, but I do work hard to express it well. I think the Philippines is still a nation in youth, with childhood being unkind. It takes some time and successes to learn to trust again. Which is another reason why continuity is so very, very important.

      • Caliphman says:

        Its all feeling good, Joe 🙂 Specially the part of not having to face wave after CPM wave of Poe attackers! lol

  34. mcmxciv says:

    You’ll find corruption everywhere. Even religion cannot get off the hook. This is what happens when the most powerful one died. Greediness will take over even though they are a family.

  35. caliphman says:

    In keeping with the the topic of this piece on the INC crisis and the recently concluded SONA, I am calling attention to one of the truly explosive exposes by Antonio R. Ebangelista, the INC whistleblower whose online BLOG on corruption at the pinnacles of power in his church is rocking its foundation. The tentacles of corruption involves not only misuse of church funds and donations by the top administration to enrich themselves but also because of the leverage the INC has over key cabinet officials, it long arms reach into the Bureau of Customs where its operatives are in key positions with the blessings if not in collaboration with officials in the administration perpetuating the protection rackets aka the tara system and outright smuggling schemes within the Bureau of Customs itself. Just to get an idea of the order of magnitude how this corruption affects the economy, it is estimated that 20% to as much as 50% of potential government revenues are being siphoned off due to systemic corruption at the BOC. The BOC currently collects around half a trillion pesos yearly so this is a mind boggling sum being lost to corruption. In fact, the reason why Aquino only got middling SONA ratings on his management of the economy was partly because 2014 was a soso year and government revenues underperformed compared to 2013 and BOC did not increase inspite of a 6% increase in imports.

    The heart of Ebangelista’s expose on Customs is a top secret NICA 8 page report that apparently was shared with INC top officials since the church itself was implicated. The links to this report including to a facebook page and the April 2015 entry are no longer available courtesy of the INC officials trying to suppress Ebangelista’s whistleblowing activities. Fortunately, the entirety of the report including details on the names of the BOC officials involved including descriptions of the protection and smuggling operations are available as images in the linked article.

    Interestingly, the report names Senator Escudero as being linlked with key operatives in these rings among which is Ted Raval who was recently promoted after much external pressure to become head the BOC security and law enforcement function. It describes in detail the tara protection racket in which importers who pay into it have their shipments expedited and waived from the usual inspection procedures. The system is so sophisticated that the ring set up a completely computerized and real time capability to track prospective imports and shipments in advance of the antiquated one actually being used in legal operations, just so the importers can be contacted or levied protection money ahead of time, since frequently tara is assesses based on number of containers.

    So just what is NICA and why has this report not been acted upon? NICA stands for National Intelligence Coordinating Agency which is a small elite investigative agency reporting directly to the Office of the President. At the end of the 8 page report, it concludes that there is not enough hard evidence to indict anyone and that the agency should coordinate with the NBI and the Department of Justice. It seems like that the only things that have happened since is the removal of Sevilla as customs head who was hired to root out corruption, the questionable appointment of Secretary Lina and the very disturbing appointment of Raval to head the Custom’s police force. Seems to me this report raises questions that only President Aquino can respond to and prove that he is not willing to be a lame duck president during the remainder of his term

    • Caliphman says:

      Trying to post an html link but it wont so have to try this.
      http colon//catholicdefender2000.blogsp ot.com/2015/04/iglesia-ni-cristo-silent-no-more.
      Add html after no-more.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Thanks. Even if only half of this is true, it’s very revealing of a disordered church.
      *****

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