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FACTS AND FIGURES: The politically influential Iglesia ni Cristo


Founded by Felix Manalo in 1914, the Iglesia ni Cristo has through the decades become a power to reckon with in the country, with politicians knocking on its doors during election time to secure the solid support of its block of several million voters.
 
The church will be 101 years old on Monday and various events are scheduled at the church-owned Philippine Arena in Bulacan to mark the day.
 
But a schism is threatening the group, with several family members of its executive minister Eduardo Manalo expelled from the church, and a minister hurling allegations against its top council.
 
Its members are waiting to see what happens next.
 
Here's a brief history of the church: 
 
1914: Felix Manalo began preaching the Church of Christ in Sitio Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila. The church began taking root in the Philippines, with followers recognizing Manalo as "God's Last Messenger." Iglesia ni Cristo was officially registered with the government, and Manalo became its first Executive Minister.
 
1939: Iglesia ni Cristo began publishing Pasugo, a magazine that disseminated the doctrines of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
 
1963: Felix Manalo passed away. His son Eraño Manalo took over the leadership of Iglesia ni Cristo.
 
1968: Iglesia ni Cristo began establishing congregations outside the Philippines. Among the first overseas congregations were in Honolulu, Hawaii and San Francisco, California.
 
1986: The Iglesia ni Cristo leadership supported Marcos in the snap elections, but many of the group's members voted for Cory Aquino.
 
1992: Iglesia ni Cristo supported Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. in the presidential elections. Fidel V. Ramos won.
 
1998: Iglesia ni Cristo supported Joseph Estrada in the presidential elections. Estrada won. According to that year's SWS exit poll, 81 percent of Iglesia ni Cristo members voted for Estrada — an indication that Iglesia ni Cristo votes as a block.
 
2001: Iglesia ni Cristo members were among protesters who took part in EDSA III, which commenced after Estrada's ouster and subsequent arrest.
 
2004: Iglesia ni Cristo supported President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's candidacy in the presidential elections. President Arroyo herself announced Iglesia ni Cristo's endorsement. According to the 2004 ABS-CBN/SWS exit poll, Iglesia ni Cristo voting strength was estimated to be three percent of the electorate. 74 percent of Iglesia ni Cristo voters voted for President Arroyo.
 
June 12, 2009: President Arroyo signed RA 9645, declaring July 27 as "Iglesia ni Cristo Day", a special national working holiday.
 
2010: Iglesia ni Cristo endorsed the tandem of Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas in the 2010 elections. According to Pulse Asia's 2010 Elections Exit Polls, Iglesia ni Cristo voting strength was estimated to be four percent of the electorate. 84.8 percent of them voted for Aquino. Roxas got 86.4 percent of the votes of Iglesia ni Cristo members. Binay only got 8.8 percent.
 
2014: The Iglesia ni Cristo opens the Philippine Arena, said to be the world's biggest indoor arena. It reportedly cost more than $200 million to build.
 
The National Statistics Office's 2010 data places the Iglesia ni Cristo membership at 2,251,941. —Jaileen Jimeno and GMA News Research/NB/JST, GMA News
 
Sources: Iglesia ni Cristo-pasugo.org; This is the Iglesia ni Cristo; NHI; OP