The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Thursday denied owning an Airbus that according to its critics are being used by its officials in their trips abroad.
“The church does not own an airbus,” INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala said to squelch claims that the religious group has an Airbus 330-202 that reportedly costs between P8.8 billion and P11 billion.
Expelled ministers Isaias Samson, Jr. and Vincent Florida accused the INC leaders of irregularities in the handling of cash donations from United States-based local churches, which are then deposited in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland.
Samson alleged that the cash was brought there using planes supposedly owned by the INC.
“If Samson can prove that the Church owns an Airbus 330-202, or any other airplane for that matter, then he can have it,” Zabala said.
The INC spokesman earlier also dared Samson and Florida to prove the existence of the alleged offshore accounts.
Zabala maintained that the INC has stringent audit protocols that enabled the church to pass strict requirements for a tax-exempt status in the United States.
“We follow protocols for the deposit of cash collections. We also have very stringent audit procedures, otherwise the church will not be granted tax-exempt status by the US government,” he earlier said.
Zabala added that the offerings of church members are properly audited. These are used to fund the construction of churches as well as various socio-civic activities.
He said that more than 800 churches have been constructed in different parts of the world under the leadership of Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo.
Nelson S. Badilla