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INC has always been a strong supporter. Ping says he respects the decision of the group.

MANILA, Philippines — Panfilo Lacson, a presidential contender, said on Tuesday that he respects the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) leadership’s decision to endorse frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos in the May 9 elections.

Any support from a group that signals a bloc vote, according to Lacson, is welcome.

It’s the second time the powerful religious body has declined to endorse him after endorsing him when he stood for office.

“Any endorsement from a specific group, particularly ang malalaking grupo syempre (large groupings), is very acceptable, particularly tinatawag nating (block voting).” As a result, talagang (really) it matters. Marami rin naendorse na hindi nanalo rin naendorse na hindi nanalo rin naendorse na hindi nan Meron naman hindi na-endorse na nanalo meron naman hindi na-endorse na nanalo meron naman (There were candidates endorsed who did not win and there were not endorsed but won). In my case, I was endorsed in all of my senatorial campaigns, thus I won. It’s the second time that the Iglesia hasn’t endorsed me, according to Lacson.

The politician, who is polling in fourth to fifth place in unofficial polls less than a week before the planned elections on Monday, admitted that surveys are important in attracting followers and endorsers.

“Hindi naman lahat ng election mag-eexpect ka na ieendorse ka hindi naman lahat ng election mag-eexpect ka na ieendorse ka. Even usual campaign contributors, yung sinasabi ko nga kay Tito Sen, tumitingin sa survey (You cannot expect to be endorsed in every election.) “I was telling Tito Sen (vice presidential candidate Tito Sotto) that even conventional campaign contributors look at surveys,” he remarked.

Sotto advised group leaders to research the qualifications of candidates before endorsing them to their followers.

“All we can do is hope and wish that all the organisations sponsoring candidates would do so based on their track record and what they have done, not on polls,” Sotto, who is behind Marcos’ running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio, said.

Lacson believes they would have received more financial support if the surveys had not been conducted, but he appreciates the decision of “real believers” to stick with them.

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