INC leader’s DFA posting not a payback from Duterte — Roque
The appointment of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) executive minister Eduardo Manalo as special envoy for overseas Filipinos concerns was not a political payback, Malacañang said on Thursday.
The bloc-voting INC has endorsed then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for President during the May 2016 national elections.
Manalo was appointed to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on February 13 as Special Envoy of the President for Overseas Filipinos’ Concerns. His term began on January 30, 2018 and will end on January 29, 2019.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday denied that Manalo’s appointment was a political payback.
“Hindi po iyan bayad-political. Siguro po itong mga pangyayari ngayon na nagiging biktima ng pag-abuso ang ating mga OFWs ay naging udyok na matalaga itong si Mr. Manalo, dahil nga doon sa kaniyang – sinabi ko na kanina – malawak na network at iyong kanilang serbisyo na sa ating mga kababayan abroad,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque said the appointment of Manalo does not violate the separation of Church and the State.
“May nagtanong na rin sa akin kahapon kung naba-violate ba raw ang separation of church and state, hindi po. Kasi ang separation of Church and State dalawa po iyan: iyong kalayaan na magkaroon ng pananampalataya; at saka iyong kasiguraduhan na ang estado mismo ay hindi magi-endorso ng isang pananampalataya,” he said.
Manalo’s appointment, he said, was due to his broad network overseas.
“Ang pagtatalaga po kay Mr. Eduardo Manalo ay dahil meron po naman talagang network si Mr. Manalo, lalong-lalo na sa iba’t-ibang mga Pilipino na nagtatrabaho sa iba’t-ibang mga bansa. Meron po silang 6 na milyon na kongresgasyon at matagal na po sila na gumagalaw sa hanay ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers,” Roque said. /muf
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