• Iglesia in crisis

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    NO WINNER  A grab from the video shows Felix Nathaniel ‘Angel’ Manalo (top) and her mother, Cristina (above). The sign that says they were hostaged (left)

    NO WINNER
    A grab from the video shows Felix Nathaniel ‘Angel’ Manalo (top) and her mother, Cristina (right). The sign that says they were hostaged (left)

    Church leader expels mother, siblings after video release

    A video uploaded online blew the lid off a brewing feud within an influential family whose grand patriarch founded the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ–the country’s third largest religious denomination.

    The controversy erupted just as the congregation was preparing to mark its centenary on Monday.

    The video, which was uploaded on YouTube, shows Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo, son of the denomination’s late leader Eraño “Ka Erdy” Manalo, asking the public for help, claiming that their lives are in danger without giving details.

    “Nananawagan po kami sa inyo dahil nanganganib po ang aming buhay. Sana’y matulungan niyo po kami [We are asking for your help because our lives are in danger. We’re hoping that you could help us],” he said.

    The second part of the video shows a picture of Angel’s mother, Cristina “Tenny” Manalo, as she purportedly makes a similar appeal to help her children–Angel and Lolita “Lottie” Manalo Hemedez.

    “Saklolohan ninyo ang aking mga anak, si Angel at Lottie, at ang kanilang mga kasama. Tulungan niyo rin ang mga ministro na dinukot, at hanggang ngayon ay di pa nakikita [Help my children, Angel and Lottie, and their companions. Also help the ministers who were abducted and have remained missing].”

    Tenny is the mother of the INC’s current executive minister, Eduardo Manalo.
    She also made an impassioned appeal to her son to talk to her.

    “At sa aking anak na si Eduardo, sana’y makausap kita [To my son, Eduardo, I hope that we could talk],” Tenny said.

    Eduardo succeeded his father, Ka Erdy, after his death in 2009.
    Ka Erdy led the church for 46 years.

    The INC was founded by Felix Manalo in 1914.

    Hours after the video went viral, an official of the INC called a news conference and announced the expulsion of Tenny and her children from the congregation for allegedly sowing disharmony among INC members.

    A church circular dated July 23 containing the order to expel the members of the Manalo family and signed by Minister of Gospel Radel Cortez was posted on Facebook later in the day.

    Cortez did not elaborate why Tenny and her children were expelled from the INC.
    The circular was reportedly read aloud during the INC’s Thursday services.

    “Our brother and overall leader, Eduardo Manalo, will not allow anybody to sow discord within the church,” INC General Evangelist Bienvenido Santiago said in a news conference, which the church called before noon Thursday. He spoke in Filipino.

    “That’s why although it’s painful on the part of our brother, Eduardo Manalo, he decided to expel those who created the division within the church.”

    Aside from Tenny and Angel, also expelled were Marco Eraño Manalo, and Lolita Manalo Hemedez.

    The decision was cascaded to the congregation members during Thursday’s church service.

    A broadcast journalist who is a member of the INC told The ManilaTimes that there were rumors of a rift within the church but no one would talk about it openly.

    Another journalist who is also a member of the church said they knew about the video but refrained from sharing it.

    Santiago denied the allegations mentioned in the video.

    “Angel Manalo’s statement and that of his mother which came out last night on YouTube where they called on the members of the Iglesia to help them because their lives were allegedly in danger and that there were ministers who were abducted, insinuating that the Iglesia has something to do with it, there’s no truth to that,” he said.

    Santiago added that they see the video as an attempt by a faction in the Manalo family to get sympathy from the church members but the real objective is to meddle in the management of the church.

    “Everybody should know that the Iglesia is not a family corporation. This is a religion that follows the rules and lessons of God according to the Bible,” he said.

    “Brother Eduardo Manalo will not allow the Iglesia to be rattled by anyone. And because of what they did last night, it’s clear that their objective is to create factions within the church. It’s unavoidable that they be sanctioned in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Iglesia as what the chief minister does to all,” Santiago added.

    A handful of supporters of Cristina and her children went to the Manalo residence in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, and made a public plea to the INC leadership to have mercy on the Manalos and to the ministers involved in the controversy.

    As reporters and photographers crowded the front of the sprawling residence, an unidentified person displayed signs saying, “Tulong. Hostage po kami [Help. We are being hostaged]” and “Revo black LGV-395 kasama po yang nanggigipit sa amin. Puro armado po yan. Ingat kayong lahat [That black Revo with plate number LGV-395, they’re among those who are oppressing us. They’re all armed. Take care].”

    No one responded as reporters tried ask questions
    A GMA News online report quoted a web log by a certain Antonio Ebangelista, who claimed that the INC leadership has expelled nine ministers from Sorsogon, Cebu and Bulacan. The author also alleged that some are being tortured in police camps and their families prevented from speaking about their expulsion from the religious group.

    The ministers who were allegedly being held hostage include a certain Nolan Olarte, Boyet Menorca” and Joven Sepilllo.

    Some ministers who were supposedly expelled include a certain Arnel Tumanan and Jerson Samson.

    The lawyer of an alleged missing INC minister has denied that his client was abducted,
    According to Allen Blair Boy, who claims he was with the INC Legal Aid, the minister, Lowell Rabasa Menorca 2nd, was not abducted but was arrested by the police in Dasmariñas, Cavite, for allegedly getting involved in a melee and for possessing a grenade.

    The lawyer said his client was a native of Bulan, Sorsogon, and is living in Dasmarinas City, Cavite.

    Earlier, a text blast purportedly from activist Mae Paner alias Juana Change said, “Urgent!!! Missing INC Minister found. His name s Lowell Memorca. He is to tell all. Please go NOW to Dasmarinas CAVITE city jail beside city hall before they take him out.”

    WITH FRANCIS EARL CUETO, JACQUELINE BOUVIER ARIAS AND ROGELIO LIMPIN

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    21 Comments

    1. Sorry to tell, for all the speculations-only proves that those who gave their comment ,did not really understand the faith of an Iglesia Ni Cristo. The rift within the Church will only proves that nonbelievers are wrong to their claim. To every Iglesia ni Cristo as history had attest that whenever a trials encountered it only triggers the INC faith to prosper beyond the thoughs of it’s enemies. Yes it saddened us all but because the claim of this Church is founded on the pristine gospel of Christ it shall and will remain victorious not only to mystified people rather will continue to flourished as biblical prophesy foretold long ago. Para sa akin, paraan ito para unti unting kumipot ang pintuan ng kaligtasan sa mga ayaw pumasok sa loob ng Iglesia na siyang tanging paraan sa kaligtasan.Malapit na isara ang pintuan at may panahon na kahabag habag ang ayaw sumampalataya.

    2. vagoneto rieles on

      The INC has, often times, been labeled ‘just a cult’. Maybe it is. Then again maybe it is something else, as wuaell. These reports of an ugly struggle within the organization’s own founding family, and leadership echelon, has identified it more like a business enterprise.. even, perhaps, a dynastic political family with a closely grded turf, much like the Binays of Makati. There are many who like to mimic the INC.. Mike Velarde’s ‘El Shaddai’; Eddie Villanueva’s ‘Jesus is Lord’; Ronald Remy’s ‘Corpus Christi Church’ and Ruben Ecleo Sr.’s (Jr.’s now) ‘Philippine Benevolent Missionaries’.These latter ‘ministries’, though, are not as successful as the INC whose membership is now in the millions; whose hold in Philippine politics is quite wide and potent; and, whose fund raising reach is now worldwide. It would be a shame to see the INC come apart. It would be like watching SMC breaking up, or General Motors going belly up, (they almost did). My guess is that they will get their act together at some point and.. continue to soldier on. It really is such a lucrative enterprise.

    3. INC members will not response to this news because we believe that truth will prevail…God and Christ Jesus will continue to guide us! Amen

    4. Curbside Prophet on

      Sorry, I was laughing at myself a while back because I realized I read the headlines wrong: “Iglesia ni Crisis”

    5. An excerpt from a broadsheet:

      “The source said the siblings accused Eduardo of pushing INC to the brink of bankruptcy with massive projects such as Philippine Arena, the $200-million cost of which was allegedly padded to give commissions and kickbacks to people close to the executive minister.”

      People close to the executive minister? I wonder who were involved in the construction of the arena as well as the acquisition of the 140 hectares of land around which this huge structure was built on. That’s the $64 question.

    6. all religions are the same, money making industry, tax free, with the respect of their followers who will do what they say. to control a country, keep them poor. to control followers make them fear the wraths of hell.oh hell, if you are dumb and don’t know you are dumb, what else can you do, right?

    7. Here are some of the names of ministers who are in the INC Sanggunian (Advisory Council):

      1. Bienvenido Santiago – General Evangelist
      2. Radel Cortez – Secretary General
      3. Glicerio (Jun) Santos Jr. – Auditor General
      4. Ernesto Suratos – Treasurer General
      5. Matt Pareja
      6. Erano (Erds) Codera
      7. Rolando Esguerra
      8. Maximo Bularan

    8. Religion is a form of corruption. INC was and will ever be that form of corruption.

    9. A person put up a sign on this window asking for help that they are being hostage! Why didnt the police respond and knock on their door to find out whats going on?

    10. Hostage taking is a police matter. No one should be above the law, just like what Napoles did to Benhur Luy where she is now incarcerated without bail.
      But who is afraid to enforce the law against INC for a crime of hostage taking?
      Is’nt our government a creation of block voting is also INC hostage by itself?

    11. Expelled no problem form another religion name of the religion Iglesia ni Cristo II.

    12. Religion is about money and power,should star collecting taxes.Big corruption specially during election year.

    13. Samuel Santos on

      Baka pwedeng daanin nila sa dasal. Ika nga “A family that prays together, stays together.”

      • are you kidding me? this family has been praying all their lives pero ayaw yata ng dios nila pakinggan, sabi, ay huag nio akong buisitin sa mga kabuisitan nio at nanahimik ako ano>?

    14. “business is religion, and religion is business. the man who does not make a business of his religion has a religious life of no force, and the man who does not make a religion of his business has a business life of no character”!

    15. What I can’t comprehend about these alleged hostage taking, or what other name you would want to call this hullabaloo WHY CAN’T YOU MENTION THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE BEHIND ALL OF THESE!! Who are the people in the sangunian?

    16. This news is something very new, really. The INC is known to be some kind of a mafia religion founded by the elder Erdy Manalo who controls every single member of the cult by manipulative interpretation of the Holy Bible. If what is going on inside the INC care of the Manalo the same could be about money and/or power-play.

    17. Felimon A. Soria on

      This could be the start of power grabbing in this church. Trillions of pesos is at stake. If really there is hostage taking, the police should be notified right away. I hope they will not be intimidated since you are going against the most powerful religious leader on earth.