Iglesia members march to EDSA

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SHOW OF FORCE Members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo jam Padre Faura in Manila in a rally meant to put pressure on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

SHOW OF FORCE Members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo jam Padre Faura in Manila in a rally meant to put pressure on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

Thousands jam Metro streets telling de Lima to back off

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THOUSANDS of members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) on Friday night marched out of Padre Faura Street in Manila and were believed to be heading for the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City to hold a bigger demonstration to press Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to back off from a criminal complaint filed against certain leaders of the church.

Radio station dzBB said a long column of INC members started filing out of Padre Faura where the offices of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is located and were believed to be heading for the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine as of 9 p.m. Friday.

The shrine was built to mark what the Catholic Church said was a “miracle” at EDSA during the 1986 People Power revolution. It was also in the same spot where people massed up in January 2001 that led to the ouster of then-President Joseph Estrada.

An estimated 4,000-5,000 members of the INC have jammed Padre Faura since Thursday afternoon, protesting de Lima’s supposed prioritization of an illegal detention case filed by dismissed INC minister Isaias Samson.

During their protest, INC members chanted “Justice for Mamasapano” and “Huwag niyong pakialaman ang Iglesia [Don’t mess with the Iglesia]!”

Mamasapano is a town in Maguindanao province in Mindanao where 44 police commandos on a mission to get an international terrorist and his Filipino protégé were attacked and killed in January this year.

Another group of INC members also started gathering near the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine in Quezon City and were believed to be poised to hold a massive rally there.

Radio reports said groups of church members bused from the provinces have been converging at the SM Megamall area and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City awaiting instructions from church leaders.

The massing up of people in the two areas further worsened the “pay-day” traffic in the National Capital Region (Metro Manila).

Rally created traffic mess

Traffic along Taft Avenue and adjoining streets, particularly United Nations Avenue and the roads in Malate and Ermita districts became tight and messy, slowing the commute, and congesting the area as INC rallyists held a program along Padre Faura.

Malacañang also on Friday clarified that it does not intend to meddle in the case of the INC.

“Government’s duty is to ensure that the laws of the land are complied with and does not
wish to interfere in the internal affairs of any legitimate organization,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

“Government is not taking an adversarial position against the INC whose contributions to national development and demonstration of civic consciousness are duly acknowledged,” he added.

Coloma said the government hopes that “expressions of dissent will continue to be peaceful, orderly and not in any way disruptive of normal activities of our citizenry.”

De Lima did not to show up at the DOJ on Friday after INC members remained massed up along Padre Faura since Thursday.

Security was tight inside the DOJ as the second floor of the main building was declared off limits to journalists.

An INC leader, who asked not to be named, said their protest will continue “as long as they want”.

Chief Supt. Rolando Nana, director of the Manila Police District, told The Manila Times that the INC was able to secure a rally permit from City Hall.

He said the permit stated that the rally will commence on Thursday morning and will last “onward,” meaning there was no time limit.

The protesters are demanding that de Lima come out and face them. They wanted her to explain why she placed the entire INC Sanggunian (Council of Leaders) under investigation.

At the height of INC crisis where the mother and brother of INC Minister Eduardo Manalo were expelled from the church, Isaias Samson, editor of Pasugo, a premier doctrinal journal of the church, lodged a complaint against Glicerio Santos Jr., Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago Sr., Mathusalem Pareja, Rolando Esguerra, Eraño Codera, Rodelio Cabrerra and Maximo Bularan, all members of the INC Sanggunian. Samson filed charges of harassment, illegal detention, threats and coercion against them.

What purportedly angered the INC members was the act of de Lima placing Samson under the Witness Protection Program and enticing more witnesses, all expelled members of the church, to come out.

According to some INC members, who spoke to The Manila Times on condition of anonymity, de Lima must now resign from her position for her bias in the case filed by the expelled INC ministers.

“DOJ does not stand anymore for Department of Justice but “Delima of Justice,” a member said.

Religious freedom

Vice President Jejomar Binay issued a statement urging the Aquino administration to stop meddling in the affairs of the INC.

Binay said the INC was only exercising its freedom to assembly and religious freedom.

“We cannot fault the INC for resorting to mass action to protect the independence of their church from a clear act of harassment and interference from the administration,” the Vice President added.

“Religious freedom is guaranteed by our Constitution. Yet the administration chose to trample on this sacred right. What we are seeing are people fighting for their faith,” he said.

Netizens weigh in

University of the Philippines political science professor Clarita Carlos was perplexed with the way the INC is handling the crisis within the church.

“One wonders why a religious group ostensibly being able to deliver some command votes can decide which actions should be or not be investigated by our DOJ! Have they become so powerful that now they decide what government officials should do or not do? Those government functionaries who kowtow to them or any group who promises some votes may soon discover that these acts of impunity may mark the beginning of the slippery slope that signals the failure of the Rule of Law, which soon leads to a Failed State….very very worrisome,” she posted on her Facebook account.

Kimboy Uy, posting on Facebook, said it is outrageous that some members of the INC community rally to implement the separation of the church and state and yet vote as a block during elections defeating the very idea of rational, democratic vote made out of free will.

“Sadly to admit… this seems to be the trajectory our government is taking … Always extra careful not to offend this supposedly powerful group… impunity all around…They can close major roads and cause huge traffic gridlocks for their activities… they can designate in front of their building along Commonwealth Avenue their parking space with taxes paid by all of us… when parking along this artery is not allowed…that our government officials have tolerated them is part of the problem,” he added.
In a statement, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said,

“The INC certainly has the right to stage a peaceful mass action to express their sentiments in defense of their faith.”

According to Marcos, the DOJ’s handling of the case “leaves much to be desired.”
Instead of letting the legal process to take its course, he said, de Lima immediately held a news conference to discuss the merits of the case.

“This created the impression, rightly or wrongly, of [her]undue interest in the case.”
“For justice to triumph, the DOJ must not only be impartial in its procedure and ruling; like Caesar’s wife, it must also be seen as being fair to all.”

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23 Comments

  1. Napoles ang kaso illegal detention, yun din pala sinampa sa mga opisiyal ng INC. Ang laki ng pagkakahawig.

    Money root of all evil!

  2. Di ko-comment ang Malacanang dito, takot baka di matapalan ng boto…ipopolitika lang ni Noynoy ito! Nanginginig pa yan sa takot! Mga walang prinsipyo sa buhay at pamamahala…kung dapat i-ayos ang traffic dahil sa gawa ng mga INC, dapat ipatupad! Di ba mga kababayan?

  3. DR. MOHAMMAD BAL on

    The inept and coward Aquino administration, the trapos like Binay, Marcos, Erap, Escudero, Poe, Cayetano are all showing weakness and indecisiveness to implement the rule of law in the midst of the inconvenience and mess created by the religious fanatics and idiots who are members of the cult INC. For me this INC should be called Iglesia Ng Corrupt! Even this publication is intimidated by this mob. It refused to publish my earlier comment about the unchristian, immoral, and illegal activities of this mob. You might as well crown Manalo as the godfather of mobs in this poor country. There are more than a hundred million Filipinos why are you intimidated by just a tiny fraction of fanatics with a mere 2 million membership? I applaud Mr. Roxas for standing up and asserting the rule of law and balancing the right to freedom of speech and religion which are not absolute. Delima should show courage and continue her investigation. File the cases in Court and let those accused defend themselves in the court of law. To the leaders of this fanatic mob your actions only shows the nature of your criminal organization.

    • applaud Mr. Roxas for standing up and asserting the rule of law and balancing the right to freedom of speech and religion which are not absolute.
      ———————
      Mar Roxas supposedly started this whole thing by demanding their support for the next election or the Dept of Justice will jail their leadership without bail. Not sure that something to applaud.

  4. “Government’s duty is to ensure that the laws of the land are complied with.

    What country are we talking about ? surely not the selective justice of the DOJ headed by De Lima.

    De Lima was ordered by the supreme court to investigation misuse of the DAP fund two years ago and still has not started it. Why ? De Lima does not investigate the Liberal Party, she asks permission from Aquino to charge.

    20 out of 23 Senators on the Napoles list, only 3 opposition senators charged.
    Why ? De Lima does not charge anyone in the Liberal Party without permission.

    De Lima needs to be charged with obstruction of justice.

  5. lahat yata ng tao ng mga cabinet member ni pnoy may mga MENTAL DISABILITY and MENTALLY DISORDER..
    NO MORE TO YELLOW REGIME, LIKE LIBERAL PARTY…balak pa ni delima na tumakbo sa pagka senadora… surely you will not win…

  6. Finally it boomerang on you Ms. delima, you`ve Noynoy chief administrator of his kangaroo court. You people been destroying lives even with or without strong evidence,as long as you are the yellow enemy. Even to Former Pres. Arroyo you show no pity. Duterte is after you, INC will bring you down. Start packing and get a one way ticket out.

  7. I dislike De Lima ever since but when the INC matter came out and observing her decision, I am starting to like her. This time she had perfectly done her job, not thinking of the repercussion that will happen. Nasira sa akin si Binay at Escudero sa kanilang paninindigan. Parang takot sila sa INC. Mukhang nakakuha ng puntos si Mar Roxas.
    Nawala naman ang paghanga ko kay Harry Roque, paepal din.

    • She didn’t do her job at all.

      Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he is convinced that de Lima may have broken some protocols in handling the INC cases.
      There seems to be an intention to speed up the process, he said, by not going through the normal course.

      Usually, the senator added, when a complaint is filed, it is the prosecutor who would conduct preliminary investigation and his findings will be forwarded to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take the necessary action either to file a case or not.

      “But instead of allowing the legal process to take its course, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima immediately held a press conference to discuss the merits of the cases.

      A former DOJ secretary said when a case is in the preliminary investigation stage, only prosecutors up to the Prosecutor-General are the ones in charge.

      Another former Justice secretary said de Lima’s alleged interference in the INC case is a clear example of “unethical meddling” with the powers of the prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation.

      De Lima tried to by pass the procedures just like her boss always does and everyone knows the results.

      SAF 44
      DAP scandal
      Pork Barrel scandal

  8. DR.MOHAMMAD BAL on

    Delima should show her courage and resilience in implementing the rule law. Binay, Marcos, Erap, Aquino, Poe, Marcos, Escudero and the rest of the trapos are showing their weakness and indecisiveness in dealing with the mob known as INC.

    Of all people Mr. Roxas is the only person who asserted that the rule of law must prevail other than Ms. De Lima. How come when people seek permit to express their more urgent and legitimate grievances against corruption, grave abuses, and serious blunders of the Aquino Administration the police and the military are quick to suppress the legitimate protest on orders of Aquino the Student Council President. They are scared of INC which has approximately a mere 2 million members. These corrupt, unprincipled and coward politicians are intimidated by a cult of fanatics and idiots who are blind followers of Manalo and company who are milking their impoverished naïve followers. If this is what Christianity is all about then it is better to be an atheist who abides by the rule of law and justice.

    This INC is nothing but an evil organization ridden with corruption who imposed too much hardships on their followers terrorizing them that they will go to hell if they don’t follow the teachings of INC. Judge the tree by its fruits.

  9. Vic Penetrante on

    Why blame De Lima? The truth is: “And one’s enemies will be those of his household.” Matthew10:36

  10. A cameraman for ABS-CBN News was mauled by three INC members at the Iglesia Ni Cristo rally on EDSA Friday evening.

    Cameraman Melchor Pinlac was punched, kicked and strangled by the men while covering the ongoing rally by INC members.

    Will they be expelled?

  11. Claiming you are all righteous people what are you doing now? Anarchy in the streets and bullying our DOJ to stop the investigation of a serious crime you are long been doing to your own members. “Mr. Glicerio Santos Jr. and his cohorts react to the filing of cases against them in a manner that speaks of irrationality and non-responsiveness… They believe that a massing of people pressuring officials to rule in their favor is a strategy that gets them off the hook,”. No one will believe in your sect but those people who are blinded by your church teachings. All your acts will nail you in hell.

  12. jesus nazario on

    Elementary Mr. Watson. This a quid pro quo maneuver to get the INC vote for her in the end. Simple di ba ?

  13. Even though our justice is slow and corrupt our country is still govern by laws and regulations,malapit na ang election kaya ito namang si Mr.13% king of magnanakaw VP Binay ay nakikisawsaw na pinapanigan ang INC para sa kanyang pansariling interest kaya itong crook na ito ay hindi naniniwala sa batas.

  14. Kapag sinara ang qiuapo at ang lahat daraan ng sto-nino o black Nazarene at gastusan Ng gobyerno ok lang,kapag fiesta ng mga santo at santa lahat ng gastos sagot ng gobyerno ok lang!
    Kapag dumating ang pope at gumastos ng malaki at gamitin lang ang pondo para sa pope ay ok lang! Kapag ang INC masamang-masama Na at delikado na ang lagay ng gobyerno!
    Pantay ba ito!!ganito ang mabubuting tao!

    • matanong ko lang, ano ba ang ipinaglalaban nyo? separation of state and church? paki basa nga uli ung batas natin ukol dun kasi mukhang wala kang alam sa batas kung ganito ang pag iisip nyo. Yung inirereklamo mo mga events, pinagplanuhan na yan bago pa magsimula. inanunsyo na yan sa publiko kung anong lugar ang maaapektuhan at kung ano ang pwedeng alternate route. eh yung rally nyo? nagplano ba kayo dyan? sinabi nyo ba sa publiko na gagawin nyo ang ganito at nagbigay man lang ng abiso para dumaan sa ibang pwedeng daan? kung sasabihin nyo din na peaceful yan, bakit may sinaktan kayong mga nagbabalita? hahaha di nyo sinasagot ung mga tanong at dinidivert nyo lang katulad ng pagcompare sa isang event na hindi nyo naman dapat ikumpara sa ginawa nyo.

  15. Philippines turning to a failed state? If so, this can only be attributed to a failed leadership. Bayan ko gising na! Suriing mabuti ang pakay nang mga nangangarap mag-presidente. Para sa bayan ba o para sa pansariling kapakanan? Mamamayang banyaga ba sila o Pilipino?

  16. Religious freedom ends when laws of the land are violated. It’s the most convenient way to invoke such right to accomplish one’s motive. What’s INC trying to prove? That it’s more powerful than the government? DOj and the government’s going after the corrupt INC ministers who allegedly illegally detained some ministers for expressing their concerns against the corruption and evil ways of some high ministers. As citizens, they also have the rights to seek assistance and DOJ is the venue to seek help. DOJ responded and acted on the complaints. What’s wrong. DOJ is not prosecuting the church but some ministers. What INC must do is to answer the charges and not go out in the streets causing chaos to the already suffering Filipinos. INC is now inviting anger and hatred instead of admiration.

  17. Si De Lima inimbestigahan agad ang INC mess. Pero ang Mamasapano 44 SAF massacred by Aquino’s friend MILF ay walang imbestigasyon. Si BS Aquino kasi ang nagpapatay sa 44 SAF by “Stand Down” order.