Role of Religion

Religious leaders are revered and occupy a unique position of power and influence in the Philippine community. Combine that with the power of mass media, and it makes for a very potent mix.

Spirituality plays a major part in the lives of Filipinos. A majority of them have religious affiliations, with 80.6 percent Roman Catholic, a remnant of the country’s colonial past. 

Given that, politicians seek the endorsements of these religious leaders during elections, an acknowledgement of their influence on a substantial group of voters.

 The Catholic Church-owned Radyo Veritas has played a vital part in the country’s history. It was the channel the Catholic Church used to urge people to gather on EDSA in February 1986 and protect a group of military officials and soldiers who stood up against President Ferdinand Marcos, paving the way for the People Power revolution.

Three influential religious leaders registered as media owners

Christian pastor Eduardo “Brother Eddie” Villanueva, founder of the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide, owns, together with his family, Zoe Broadcasting Network Incorporated, which co-owns GMA News TV with GMA Network Incorporated. Zoe Broadcasting Network Incorporated holds the legislative franchise for the VHF channel being used by GMA News TV.  Villanueva had attempted to run for a national position in the past but never won. He was the presidential candidate of his political party, Bangon Pilipinas, in the 2004 and 2010 elections, and a senatorial candidate in the 2013 midterm Philippine elections.  His son, Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, was a member of the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010 representing the party list group, Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac). In 2010, then President Benigno Aquino III appointed him head of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). He was elected senator in the May 2016 elections. On Nov. 14, 2016, the Ombudsman ordered his dismissal from public service for alleged anomalous use of his pork barrel funds.

Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, President Duterte’s very close friend and spiritual adviser, owns Sonshine Media Network International which has TV and radio stations all over the country.

 Iglesia ni Cristo’s Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo has affiliations in two media companies. He is the Chairman of the Board of Christian Era Broadcasting Service International Incorporated which owns and operates INC TV or the Iglesia ni Cristo channel, and its sister company Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, owner of Net 25 channel and various radio stations all over the country.  Manalo’s son-in-law, Theoben Jerdan C. Orosa, is listed as one of the stockholders of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation.

Other televangelist on screen

 Two other popular televangelists are TV blocktimers airing their religious programs: El Shaddai’s Mariano “Brother Mike” Velarde, and Eliseo “Brother Eli” Soriano of the Members Church of God International, more popularly known as Ang Dating Daan.

Other religious denominations air their programs on the government channel IBC 13. These are the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch), the Catholic Church’s Kerygma TV and El Shaddai.

Sources

The Big Chill at GMA-7 (2006), Accessed 24 October 2016
GMA Network launches GMA News TV (2011), Accessed 24 October 2016
GMA News TV goes on air (2011), Accessed 24 October 2016
GMA Definitive Information Statement ASM (2016), Accessed 24 October 2016
The truth shall set us free: The role of Church-owned radio stations in the Philippines (2011), Accessed 16 November 2016
Radyo Veritas role in Edsa I recalled (2015), Accessed 16 November 2016
Edsa 20/20: The first few hours on Radio Veritas (2006), Accessed 16 November 2016
Religion in the Philippines (n.d.), Accessed 16 November 2016
Part 1: Who is Glicerio Santos Jr in the Iglesia ni Cristo? (2015), Accessed 10 November 2016
Bloc voting: Presidents backed by Iglesia Ni Cristo (2015), Accessed 10 October 2016
Distortions (2015), Accessed 15 October 2016
House of Manalo divided (2015), Accessed 26 October 2016
Drama at Iglesia Ni Cristo (2016), Accessed 30 October 2016

2016. Securities and Exchange Commission. General Information Sheet of GMA Network Incorporated (available upon request at SEC)
2016. Securities and Exchange Commission. General Information Sheet of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (available upon request at SEC)
2016. Securities and Exchange Commission. General Information Sheet of Solar Entertainment Corporation (available upon request at SEC)
2016. Securities and Exchange Commission. General Information Sheet of Southern Broadcasting Network (available upon request at SEC)
Securities and Exchange Commission. General Information Sheet of Christian Era Broadcasting Service International (available upon request at SEC)

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