Commentary PHL Vote 2022

The Filipino Marian Eastern Catholic Church of Masbate

The sect also goes by another name, Ina Poon Bato Simbahang Naglalakbay. They are on social media. They have a Facebook account. A sect teacher going by the name of Apo Maria Dolores has given a lecture on YouTube.

Ever since she was a child, Apo Maria Dolores says she has seen immortal spirits — kapre (dark giants that dwell in trees) and duwende (dwarves) — because she has the “third eye,” pointing to the center of her forehead between the eyebrows. But when the “mission” arrived in Masbate, she began seeing even more spiritual beings, both good and bad.

Apo Maria Dolores sees little angels she calls angelitos and angelitas.She sees cherubims and 6-winged seraphims, as well as angels called hijas de Maria that are fragrant flowers surrounding the Mahal na Ina, the third person of the holy trinity.

She warns that there are evil spirits. The sect believes that those who do wrong are under the influence of the spirit of Lucifer, the fallen angel who was once the prince of light. It was Lucifer who created hell, the destination of those who sin. When humans on earth are greedy (sakim), oppressive (mapang-alipin sa kapwa), and lust for power (kapangyarihan), Lucifer’s enormous tail grows even longer, thus increasing his evil powers on earth.

Lucifer has legions of demons and devils sent on earth to control the minds of people to sin. Cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol are some of the sins brought upon us by these demons. Demons bring about mortal sin. There is a bruja who influences women to commit sins against chastity and the use of immodest dressing. There is also a demon called brujo who does not respect women and turn men into “playboys.” They are the cause of many a downfall among families.

Then there is the demon of pride and power which takes away humility.

Apo Maria Dolores says the Ina Espiritu Santo gives her revelations that are not found in the Bible. When she speaks, Apo Maria Dolores’ congregants — all dressed in white habits and veils like her — listen intently and fold their hands in the prayerful posture. The men are also in white habits and hoods like those of Catholic monks.

Sect members live in a village that they call Bayang Israel Ecclesiastical Estate in Baleno, a 4th class municipality on the island province of Masbate. In Baleno, they run a private primary and secondary school, the Ina Poon Bato Academy. Baleno infodata on the web give out the names of the sect’s leaders: “Santa Ma. Merly Amor as the Foundress and Matriarch of the Church, and Most. Rev. Ernesto Ignacio Maurice S. Nalzaro as the Patriarch and Protector of the Church.”

The Manila Bulletin has reported that sect members, dressed in their white and blue habits and shawls, all came out to welcome Bongbong Marcos in Masbate last March 5. Photos showed them waiting on the roadside as the candidate’s motorcade and caravan passed by.

The congregation has endorsed the presidential candidacy of Marcos Jr. In her YouTube presentation, Apo Maria Dolores revealed that the sect had entrusted Marcos Jr. to the Archangel Rafael so that he will not be influenced by the bad demons who make men greedy, lustful for power, and oppressive, because he “has a mission to lead.”

Clutching at their rosaries as they waited for Marcos Jr. to pass by, the sect’s devotees held up posters of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos who they claim are (were?) devotees of Ina Poon Bato.They said they also believe in a so-called Maharlikan Nation, and in its greatest bounty, the Tallano gold.

“The aspiration of Bongbong Marcos is to share the gold so that no country in the world will be poor,” said Ian Yasser Risalon, as he looked forward to the arrival of Marcos Jr.’s chopper in Masbate.

While the camp of Marcos Jr. has accused some churches of “meddling in politics,” it has not criticized the Filipino Marian Eastern Catholic Church of Masbate for its very open endorsement of its candidate.

Perhaps the sect’s prayer that the Archangel Rafael will protect Marcos Jr. from the demons of greed, power and oppression has had an effect?

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.