ALLEGATIONS that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is utilizing a private army and a “death squad” to threaten its members are fueling undue fear and tension, a Quezon City official said on Wednesday.
Gen. Elmo San Diego, chief of the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety, said such claims weaken public confidence on authorities and trigger conspiracy theories that undeservedly alarm the public.
“The parties should be careful about making these claims because there’s a public order and safety element at stake here, one that affects not only the INC and its members but the general public as well,” San Diego warned.
“What do you think the reaction would be if someone says the government tolerates the presence of armed groups in your community? It creates undue fear and tension, and reduces confidence in our police and other law enforcement agencies. Let’s not unduly scare the public,” he added.
He urged the INC and its critics to be more responsible in their statements.
“I strongly admonish anyone against raising the spectre of violence or the possibility of violence from supposed armed groups, especially if these statements are not substantiated by evidence,” San Diego added.
INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala, meanwhile, called on INC members to remain calm and continue their prayers.
“Rest assured that the Church leadership will face all the issues with dignity and with full confidence in the fairness of our justice system,” Zabala said.
At the same time, Zabala appealed for “open-mindedness, objectivity and understanding” from the general public.
He said people should be wary of “baseless speculations and reckless accusations that do not contribute to efforts to obtain justice for all those involved.”