“All hearsay, zero evidence.”
This was how Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) spokesman Edwil Zabala described the allegations of wrongdoing thrown against some of the religious group’s leaders.
Zabala maintained that they are the victims of “sustained and deliberately-planned efforts to besmirch their reputation, sow division within the church, and consequently discredit it in the eyes of the public.”
He said that after the much-publicized but failed attempts to file criminal charges against the INC leadership, the INC’s detractors “are less concerned now with proving their charges in court, as their focus is simply to use the media to sow public distrust and internal discord by making fantastic, baseless allegations anchored on hearsay.”
Zabala pointed out that the latest accusations of former INC minister Vincent Florida were “perfect examples of how statements that would be thrown out in court have become the bases for damaging news reports.”
Florida alleged that there were irregularities in the handling of financial contributions in the US, claiming that INC leaders smuggled funds using private planes owned by the religious group to banks in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Florida said he had reported INC officials involved in these irregularities to the Internal Revenue Service.
However, the IRS clarified, through Special Agent Arlette Lee, that no tax fraud or tax offense case had been filed against any INC official in any US federal court.
Florida has also failed to present proof to substantiate his claims on the existence of INC’s private jets. Asked to present evidence, Florida simply said: “I cannot attest to that, but that’s what I heard.”
Zabala lamented that “it is easy to make up stories of wrongdoing and just let them spread all over the media.”