AT least three Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial candidates are confident of support from the different religious groups, particularly the influential Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
In separate interviews after the campaign sortie in Para?4aque, Sen. JV Ejercito and hopefuls Francis Tolentino and Jiggy Manicad said the endorsement of the religious groups is crucial to winning the elections.
However, the three senatorial aspirants said they are not yet asking for a meeting with the INC and other groups.
Ejercito, a reelectionist, said that he was supported by the INC when he first ran for the Senate in 2013.
“I was endorsed then, siguro naman makukuha pa din natin suporta nila. I am hoping na I’ll be endorsed kasi malaking boost yan at alam natin na solid ang INC sa pagboto,” Ejercito said.
The INC is known for block voting and almost all the candidates they support win in elections.
According to Ejercito he has not yet received an invitation from the INC, however he has constantly informed the Iglesia and other religious groups of what he has done as senator for the past six years.
“So far maganda naman ang relationship natin with the major religious organizations and siguro confident naman ako lasi nakadeliver naman tayo. Sabi ko nga bihira yung makapagpasa ka mg dalawang landmark laws sa isang Congress,” he said.
“I write them, I write the leaders of INC, JIL kay Pastor Quiboloy at iba pa. I write to all of them regarding the accomplishments and the pending bills...kung ano yung napasa na at kung ano yung tingin nilang kailangan pa. Siguro po ang advantage naming reelectionist e mayroon kaming track record and I was able to again pass two landmark laws,” he added.
Tolentino, a former presidential adviser on political affairs, said there are people close to him who are already talking to the religious groups.
“May tumutulong sa akin. Yung tumulong na sa akin dati, hindi natin masabi na 100 percent. Lahat nag-aasam ng ganun. Lahat ng support mahalaga. Kailangan, iyan ang ginawa ko nung 2016,” Tolentino said.
In 2016, Tolentino ran for senator but lost, ranking number 13 in the senatorial race.
For his part, former journalist Manicad said he has not yet sought the help of the religious groups but he maintains a good relationship with them.
“Sa ngayon may mga kaibigan naman tayo sa ibat ibang religious sector pero yung formal na paghingi ng tulong wala pa tayong ginagawa,” Manicad added.