“We are no longer surprised at the lengths our detractors will go to attack the reputation of the church, our accusers will say anything to get the attention of the media, including coming up with stories that make so little sense it’s amazing they see print.”
This was the response of Iglesia ni Cristo spokesman Edwil Zabala who on Monday laughed off statements of US ex-church minister Vincent Florida who said that he had meant to protect the INC by filing a tax case with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that involved longer processes and would allow the INC to address financial irregularities.
Florida added that he used IRS Form 3949A when reporting the INC, which is used for reporting suspected tax fraud, including false exemptions or deductions, kickbacks, false or altered document, failure to pay tax, unreported income and organized crime.
He could have used IRS Form 211, which is used as part of the tax collection agency’s whistle-blower program that awards informants 15 to 30 percent of the tax collected.
Florida claimed he deliberately chose Form 3949A because it would require “a longer investigation lead time” to give the INC leadership and “anyone else who received income from the US congregations” time to cooperate with the US government and make the appropriate tax declarations.
Zabala said that Florida’s statements “reveal the credibility of the accuser and the evidence behind the allegations: none.”
He added that if what the ex-minister said was true, then he should be held accountable “for wasting the time of the IRS and making a mockery of US tax laws.”
The INC minister provided an analogy of Florida’s statement, saying, “It’s like he reported a robbery to the police, only to tell the robbers to return the money so they would not be caught,while at the same time holding a press conference accusing the robbers of committing a crime. Isn’t that unbelievable?”
Zabala called on the public to be circumspect in the face of repeated attempts to destroy the credibility of the INC and its leaders.