A large cache of weapons found in the possession of dismissed Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) member Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo and his companions at the Tandang Sora house they were occupying in Quezon City has been disowned by the politically influential religious sect.
The arms haul was enough to equip a small assault team, police sources said on Friday.
An officer of the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD), who spoke on condition of anonymity, wondered how Manalo could amass such firepower, which included 56 long firearms, 17 short firearms, 27 grenades and close to 18,000 rounds of live ammunition.
“The idea of them storing all these dangerous and deadly weapons illegally in a residential area, and for what use these were intended for, is frightening and gives us cause for concern. That the firearms were used against two of our policemen validly serving a search warrant makes this Angel Manalo and his group extremely dangerous,” the officer noted.
Criminal charges for illegal possession of firearms were filed against Manalo, his wife Jenny, sister Lolita “Lottie” Hemedez and 24 others before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office after they and members of their group figured in a clash with policemen serving a search warrant last March 2. This resulted in the shooting and wounding of two Quezon City police officers.
QC Assistant City Prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor, in a resolution released on Wednesday, March 8, did not recommend any bail for Manalo, the expelled younger brother of INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.
Angel’s sister was released pending further investigation.
Meanwhile, bail has been set for her son, Jem Hemedez.
Additional charges of frustrated murder were filed against a certain Jonathan Ledesma, who was with Manalo at the time of the incident.
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, said last week that Manalo and his companions were charged after they failed to show any license proving ownership of the firearms.
“These dangerous firearms are being linked to Angel Manalo, who we understand is not a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo anymore. Based on our initial investigation, the weapons found do not belong to the INC but only to the younger Manalo and his group,” the police source clarified.