PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ERAÑO “Ka Erdy ” Manalo, executive minister of the two-million- strong Iglesia ni Cristo, died of heart attack in his Quezon City house, an INC official said yesterday. He was 84.
INC spokesperson Bienvenido Santiago confirmed Manalo’s death at 3:53 p.m. last Monday. Manalo took over the church upon the death in 1963 of its founder, his father Felix Manalo.
According to Santiago, Manalo’s remains will lie in state at INC’s Central Temple in Quezon City.
The INC, founded by Erano’s father in 1914, instructs its members to vote as a bloc and thus is eagerly courted by politicians seeking endorsement during elections. It also owns a television network and other businesses.
Malacañang, through deputy presidential spokesperson Anthony Golez Jr., extended its sympathies to Manalo’s family and the INC community. President Macapagal- Arroyo said the “country and the world have lost yet another great leader in this generation.”
“President Arroyo also extends the condolences and prayers of her family and the members of the Cabinet to Ka Erdy’s son, Deputy Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, and to all pastoral leaders and mebers of the INC,” Golez said.
Former President Joseph Estrada also expressed sadness over Manalo’s passing. He said “Ka Erdy will be remembered for the discipline he instilled in the INC followers and the spirit of reconciliation he tried to impart to the leaders of the nation.”
Meanwhile, Senators Francis Escudero, Pia Cayetano, Manny Villar, Mar Roxas and Miguel Zubiri extended their sympathies to those left behind by Manalo. Escudero said the INC would not be where it is today were it not for Ka Erdy’s efforts.
“My whole family condoles with deepest sympathy to the Manalo family and the entire INC. May they find peace and comfort in knowing that his loss is felt by all who knew, respected and loved him,” Escudero said.
Cayetano said Manalo’s stewardship has been credited for INC’s propagation and international expansion. It is the biggest independent church in Asia and the biggest religious organization to have originated from the country.
Villar said Manalo’s death is a loss to the entire Filipino nation “for losing one of the prominent figures that people look up to for spiritual and moral guidance.” He said Ka Erdy’s death leaves a void in the influential church’s leadership that is hard to fill as he has contributed significantly to the Filipinos’ deep sense of spirituality.
Roxas said the INC leader’s passing is a great loss. “His inspirational leadership and great vision has brought together millions of Filipinos here and abroad through a dedicated ministry of faith and worship.” He initiated a resolution honorign Manalo for his steadfast commitment and unwavering dedication to spreading the message of god at the Senate.
Zubiri described him as a man of great vision and inspiration. It was him who authored Republic Act 9645 declaring July 27 of every year as a special non-working holiday in honor of INC’s founding anniversary.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Muntinlupa City Mayor Aldrin San Pedro also expressed deepest regret over Ka Erdy’s ‘’ passing. Lim expressed his condolences to Manalo’s wife Christina and their six children, including “Ka Eduardo,” INC’s top leader. He was backed by INC when he ran and won as comebacking mayor in 2007.
“Malaking kawalan si Ka Erdy. Ikinalulungkot ko ang pagkawala ng isang mabuting kaibigan, gabay at ehemplo ng isang mamamayan at lider na nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa lahat upang patuloy na manalig, ipatupad at isabuhay ang mga salita ng Diyos.”
“His vision had instilled stronger faith to INC which has immensely contributed in molding the moral and spiritual character of the Filipinos as well as help the gowth and development of the country,” San Pedro said. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives adjourned early yesterday. After convening at 4 p.m. and passing House Resolution 1356 “expressing its profound condolences” to the family of Manalo, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor adjourned session at 5:10 p.m.
Speaker Prospero Nograles said the congressmen and House employees would be visiting Manalo’s wake before session resumes today.
In the resolution, the lawmakers said Manalo’s “dynamic, charismatic, and steady leadership” made INC the “fastest-growing church in the country.”
Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo said he is saddened by Manalo’s untimely demise. “ I am sure the nation and the INC are mourning his loss, but his legacy as a leader will always be an inspiration,” he said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said Manalo has been instrumental in expanding a distinct institution in the Philippines. Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa also offered its condolences to the INC as he ordered the Quezon City Police District to provide full security assistance during Manalo’s wake. “I have asked QCPD director Chief Supt. (Elmo) San Diego to coordinate closely with the INC leadership and give all assistance to them especially in providing security and motorist assistance during the wake,” the PNP chief said.
Verzosa also alerted police commanders in the provinces to be on alert and provide assistance to thousands of INC members and supporters who are expected to pay their last homage to the INC leader.