Thanks to Save the Rainforest for the wonderful post!
The inside story:The Fall of Joseph Estrada: The Inside Story - a book by Amando Doronilla
INC's role in bringing the crowd to the EDSA 3 rally [page 223-224]
[This is the mob rally that went to the Edsa Shrine and desecrated the church. The angry mob then went to the presidential palace to stage a coup and re-instate Estrada who left the presidency in disgrace. None of the instigator politicians were charged.]
MEMBERS OF THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO (INC), a religious sect that has supported Estrada since he was a mayor, accounted for much of the turn-out at the EDSA shrine - 70% to 75%, Mendoza reported at the National Security Council meeting called by President Macapagal-Arroyo on the fifth day of the protest. The INC denied ordering its followers to EDSA. Although the INC leadership has always supported candidates fairly openly during an election, the INC said it was up to its constituents to decide whether or not to join the pro-Estrada rally at the EDSA shrine. [Yeah right. They threaten expulsion to members who would not follow their bloc voting rule!]
But an INC official, who agreed to be interviewed for this book on condition of anonymity, told a different story. While there may not have been an order directing INC members to go to EDSA, they were not discouraged from going, he said. A less subtle signal of which side the INC was on, he said, was in fact sent to some local pastors: on the first night of the protest, calls came from the central office urging them to go, and the pastors in turn passed the word down to the ranks. [Which is how they REALLY communicate.]
But the obvious manifestation was the non-stop coverage of the rally by the INC's radio and television stations. Net 25, a cable television channel, and radio station DZEC [this is a crappy station. My mom used to wrok here but left when she was being forced by her bosses to convert. My mom chose her Faith over their crappy salary! A confessor!] in fact had the event to themselves because the other networks, accused of bias, were kept away by harrasment. Previously, Net 25 had only shown sectarian and other non-political (shopping, computer technology) programs. [When John Paul, a head of state, died, they did not show it in their news programs. When Benedict, who is a head of state got elected, they did not report it. But you see the news of other world leaders dying and getting elected. If you do not call that biased journalism, then you may call Obama pro-life!] Now it had only EDSA pictures with DZEC providing the annotation and commentary.
According to an INC insider, the leadership supported the rally because it felt that the government had gone over board in its quest for justice. INC leader Erano Manalo, [Erroneous Manalo] the informant said, was convinced that the administration was humiliating Estrada in public because it wanted to destroy him once and for all. "Patung-patong na ang kaso against Erap, [they piled the case against Estrada] and it seemed the government was not content with that. They are saying that he would be investigated for a possible violation of the Comelec gun ban. And then the mug shots and the fingerprinting were shown on nationwide TV. Sobra na raw 'yon. Aping-api na si Erap," the insider said, explaining Manalo. The INC commentators took turns in agitating their audiences by picturing Estrada as the underdog, the government and the media his tormentors.
The INC was well known for its support of the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, and they were not present at Edsa during the 1986 People Power Revolution that send Marcos and his cronies into exile. They did not support Cory Aquino when she was in power. They supported Danding Cojuangco, a Marcos crony and Cory's estranged cousin, when he ran for the presidency in 1998. When Estrada ran, they supported him.
A horde of political opportunists who would love to associate themselves with politicians of ill-repute!