• Officials urged: Stand up against Iglesia ‘tyranny’

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    Oppressed?  Members of the iglesia ni Cristo jam the Edsa-Shaw Boulevard crossing in Mandaluyong City to purportedly come to the defense of their beliefs.  PHoto By Mike De Juan

    Oppressed?
    Members of the iglesia ni Cristo jam the Edsa-Shaw Boulevard crossing in Mandaluyong City to purportedly come to the defense of their beliefs. PHoto By Mike De Juan

    A party-list congressman became the voice in the wilderness amid the ongoing crisis within the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) that has spilled into the streets in Metro Manila as he called on government officials to take a stand against “the tyranny of organized numbers”.

    In a statement issued Saturday, Akbayan party-list Rep. Barry Gutierrez said the current crisis with the INC is an opportunity for the people “to see the true mettle of our would be leaders”.

    “Who will stand up for the rule of law, and who will bend before the tyranny of organized numbers?” he said.

    Gutierrez issued the statement the day after thousands of members of the INC marched to Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) near the site where two public uprisings that led to the ouster of the nation’s presidents were held to press the Aquino government, particularly the justice department, to back off from the serious illegal detention complaint filed by an expelled church minister against the INC leaders.

    Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, who has dropped hints in seeking a Senate seat next year, has stood her ground that the Justice department won’t stop its investigation on the complaint.

    “We are not meddling here. It is our mandate to investigate all violations of criminal law,” de Lima told reporters.

    About 3,000 INC members initially massed in front of the DOJ compound in Padre Faura (Manila) on Thursday and held an overnight vigil. They also blocked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s car as it left the compound. The number of protesters swelled to around 5,000 on Friday and by 7:30 p.m. started marching to EDSA to meet up with other church members who were assembling in staging areas near the SM Megamall and the Our Lady of EDSA Shrine.

    The mass action snarled Friday’s “pay day” traffic until past midnight, stranding thousands of commuters.

    Authorities – especially elective officials — drew flak from the public for allegedly not doing anything to stop the public disturbance.

    “Let me be clear, I support the right of every citizen, regardless of their religious or political affiliation, to express their opinion on any issue — and this includes taking to the streets to do so. But I likewise firmly insist on the duty of every responsible citizen, especially those occupying public office, to take a stand when the freedom of speech and assembly is used to derail legitimate government processes and bully the officials lawfully tasked to see them through.

    “Rights must be respected, yes, but the abuse of those same rights must be called out and condemned.

    And when that abuse of right also leads to massive inconvenience to thousands of fellow citizens, angering and alienating many of them? Well that’s plain insensitivity. Not to mention bad messaging,” Gutierrez said.

    The INC is considered influential because it practices bloc voting during elections.
    Of the possible presidential candidates for next year’s elections, it was only Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd who made a stand against the INC action thus far.

    “While all citizens have the right to be heard and to peaceful assembly, the exercise of these rights cannot impinge on the rights of others or cause inconvenience to anyone, lalo na yung mga kababayan nating pauwi sa kanilang mga tahanan para magpahinga at makasama ang kanilang mga pamilya (especially our fellowmen who are going home to rest and spend time with their families),” Roxas said in a statement.

    “The PNP (Philippine National Police) is duty-bound to ensure that the safety and general welfare of the public is maintained, and this includes making sure opportunists do not try to take advantage of the situation for personal ends. Let us remember that ours is a Rule of Law and not of men,” Roxas, who lost his vice presidential bid in 2010 despite an INC endorsement, added.

    Malacañang on Saturday said President Aquino has instructed Roxas to work with the police and local government units affected by the ongoing mass action to ensure public order and safety.

    “Roxas met with officials of Quezon City and Mandaluyong City, as well as officials of the PNP on how they can move forward with regards to the protest action of INC members,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.

    She said the President specifically wanted the mass action to become orderly, peaceful and not disrupt other people who are not part of the mass action, Valte told the state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

    “The President’s instructions were to ensure the safety of the public including … not just those who were involved in the protest, but more importantly, those who are uninvolved in the protest,” she said.

    “The President mentioned specifically that government should ensure — at least, the executive branch — that there are no opportunities for those who may want to take advantage of the situation for their personal end.”

    Valte also said they have been informed that the Mandaluyong City Hall has issued a permit to the INC to hold a rally.

    Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. has granted a rally permit that expires on Sunday.

    The PNP raised the alert status of its forces in Metro Manila.

    “The PNP leadership is monitoring the situation from its national headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City and we are waiting for further waiting for developments on the INC vigil/rally,” Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, the police spokesman, said in a text message.
    Church officials are not sure when their protest will end.

    “Wala pang kasiguraduhan kung hanggang kailan magtatagal ito, tanging ang mga taga pamahala ng INC ang magsasabi kung hanggang kailan itong peaceful assembly [We are not sure yet when our peaceful assembly would end, because only the INC management could give orders on how long it would last],” INC spokesperson Edwin Zabala told Net25.

    Church members from the Bicol region were reportedly on the way to Metro Manila to join the protest while INC chapters in Mindanao are planning to launch a similar protest at the DOJ office in Davao City.

    Protesters massed at the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard intersection on Saturday morning were made to watch a talk show aired by the INC-owned Net25 channel that featured former congressman and church member Rodante Marcoleta.

    Marcoleta said De Lima should focus on other important issues rather than the complaints filed against the leadership of the church.

    “Gusto niyang yugyugin ang kaisahan ng Iglesia. May binabalak siguro sila diyan. Baka ngayon pa lang sinasabi namin ay baka kayo ang mayugyog namin” Marcoleta said.

    “Dumating ang isang Isaiah Samson, bakit naging importante at unsual ang pagpapahalaga mo sa isang itiniwalag na ministro…Iiwan mo ba ang mga nakakabinbin na kaso para lang sa isang reklamo ng Samson? Dapat palitan ang pangalan ng kanyang departamento, Dapat Department of Injustice or Department of Selective Justice.” he added.

    Marcoleta was referring to Samson, an expelled church minister who claimed he was abducted and detained on orders of church officials.

    Several INC members were also going around seeking signatures for an online petition against de Lima through the website Change.org.

    Marcoleta also criticized ABS-CBN news anchor Ces Drilon for her alleged “biased reporting”.

    “Ces Drilon, kung dinadakila mo ang iyong trabaho, yung ethics ng pamamahayag mo, dapat ay maging objective ka sa pamamahayag mo na dapat ay patungkol sa bayan. Bakit ang iniinterview mo ay puro tiwalag.” he said.

    A Net25 news report said INC members are no longer watching ABS-CBN news programs because of alleged unfair reporting.

    Unidentified men reportedly manhandled an ABS-CBN cameraman and a radio reporter from GMA Network who were covering the protest.

    Cameraman Melchor Pinlac said he was shooting a video of the protest at the EDSA Shrine when he was grabbed by the neck, then was punched in the jaw, body as the crowd chanted “biased, biased,” radio station dzMM said.

    Olan Bola, a reporter of radio station dzBB, was also shoved around when he tried to pacify the mob.

    By noon, the protest program shifted to a concert-like assembly amid heavy rain.
    Organizers also showed the trailer of a film based on the life story of INC founder Felix Manalo starring actor Dennis Trillo.

    WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE, JACQUELINE BOUVIER ARIAS, FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO AND ANTHONY VARGAS

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    36 Comments

    1. jeffrey p guzman on

      its all gone now. how could a religious group (INCM) claim to be righteous when all their acts seem to be deviated from the so called good work from GOD in the bible. is it just a good for their group as what we are witnessing. it’s a self serving action beyond what they called evangelism or spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. if you are truely a believer of Christ, are you satisfied with this kind of protest where everybody is affected negatively. this is what we call hypocricy, since their action speaks the type of group they are. playing number to buy out corrupt politician (block voting) and thereby bargaining position for key position to empower their group in order to obtain what they wanted in the society.

    2. 1 John 2:28-3:10 ESV
      And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. …

      Matthew 5:9 ESV
      “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

      Romans 12:2 ESV
      Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

      Psalm 119:1-176 ESV
      Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! …

      1 John 3:1-24 ESV
      See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. …

      Revelation 14:12 ESV
      Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

      My brothers and Sister in Christ take heed to this bible quotes. True children of God are humble, not seeking violence, meek, love… in short the fruit of the Spirit are seen in their lives. If the church does not practicing and teaching this things? Brothers and Sisters in Christ I do pray search the scripture by yourselves not through our pastors because the by searching the Bible alone can lead us to the true righteousness of Jesus Christ. Pray earnestly before you study. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    3. Under this situation, one can very well recognize who are sitting on opposite fences… the yellows who are the bashers right now and the rainbows (except for yellow of course) who are the disgruntled crusaders….. let’s see who outnumber the other

    4. Di ba puro katoliko ang nasa gobyerno?dapat sisihin din ninyo ang inyong sarili dahil,mismo kayo ay hindi nagkakaisa? Ano man ang ginagawa ng INC,ay para sa sarili nilang pagtatanggol,dahil muna ng iisang tao pa lamang ang nag-umpisa ng INC,ay inuusig na ito ng maraming katoliko,ngayon nakarating na sila sa taas at kapangyarihan dahil sa kanilang pagkakaisa!
      Dapat sisihin ninyo ang sarili ninyong religion,at ang mga katoliko sa gobyerno na hindi nagpapahalaga sa religion kinalakihan nila!
      Matuto kayong magkaisa at magkaroon ng disiplina at pagsunod sa mga nagtuturo sa inyo upang maging iisa kayo!! Ang masakit kayo mismo ay walang katiwa-katiwala sa mga paring nagtuturo sa inyo!
      Ngayon pasigaw-sigaw pa kayo at galit na galit sa INC, ngayon kayo mismo sa sarili ninyo di malaman kung susundin ninyo ang nagtuturo ng religion!sigaw ninyo!!
      Ipako-ipako ang iglesia ni CRISTO at pakawala ang mga Judas na nagsasabing tuwid na daan! Gumagawa ng sinaryong katulad sa middle east na magkaroon ng religious war!! Si ngayon ang bulag!
      Simpleng isyu ng INC,na hindi naman nagnakaw sa iyo! Halos mabaliw kayo sa galit!! Dap,SAF44,aid para sa Yolanda nawawala,mrt,kahit hirap-na hirap kayong sumakay,hindi kayo nakuhang mabaliw sa galit!!
      Pero sa simpleng isyu ng INC, para kayong asong na uulol na tahol ng tahol at gustong mangangat!! Yan ang nasa budhi at puso ninyo ang kasuklaman ang INC,ngayon wala namang nagawang kasalanan sa inyo!!

      • Kapag may batas na nilabag sa pamahalaan o sa kapwa tao ay dapat makialam ang justice system. Kung walang kasalanan ay walang dapat ikatakot. Karapat-dapat lang na gawin ng batas ang dapat gawin para sa lahat na walang kinikilingan maging INC man.

      • My friend, this issue was started by no less than the siblings and mother of INC leader. Eduardo Manalo. The authorities are just doing their job if there are anomalies going on. So stop blaming the media, the government and other religion.

    5. My nephew is a minister of INC, He took his son to Philippines to study to become a minister at New era University owned INC in Q.C. His son was American born and didnt want to be a minister . My nepnew insisted his son to enroll and be a minister.
      My nephew’s son could’nt take all the urgings by his Dad, he committed suicide by jumping head first on the 4th floor at Ayala Mall parking building in Makati City. My grandson was died instantly only 21 at that time and didnt want to involve with his Dad’S cultic religion INC. I was in the philippines when this incedent happened (2009). I went to Makati Police Station to inquired about my grand son. They told me that he jumped from the 4th flloor
      and thats all I gathered from the police,No witness, no records, no TV reporting ,
      no news. I found out later that the powerful INC silenced by bribing police, TV
      newscasters, and newspaper reporters. That’s how this cultic religion manipulate our media for their own good. What really bothered me was the fact that my nephew and some member of INC here in California ,was spreading lies that my grandson was stabbed in the mall men’s room. What a religion!!! mga kampon ni satanas!!!!!!!

    6. Si Isaias Samson Jr. ay isang senior minister na malapit sa yumaong Ka Erdie. Siya ay naging Pinuno ng Foreign Mission. Siya din ang Editor-in-Chief ng Pasugo. Kaya hindi basta karaniwan ministro lang si Samson. May kredibilidad siya at pagmamalasakit. Bago nagsampa ng demanda si Samson laban sa ilang tiwaling ministro ng Sanggunian ay inunahan na siya ng INC ng libelo. Sumagot lang si Samson sa pamamagitan ng pagtanggol sa kanyang karapatan at karangalan. Hindi pa nga nauumpisahan ang pagdinig ay nagrally na kayo. Para ano? Para takutin at pigilin ang pagdinig sa kaso? Kung wala sila kasalanan, di harapin nila at sagutin ang demanda? Hayaan ang korte ang mad-desisyon. Hindi sa lahat ng panahon ay puwedeng ipilit ng INC ang kanilang gusto tulad ng ginawa sa mga nakaraang administration. Nagayon may katapat sila na isang matapang na DOJ Secretary ay ginigipit naman nila ito. Kung ZERO ang boto niya mula sa INC ay sige. Pero hayaan ninyong gampanan niya ang kanyang trabaho.

      • Agree ako lahat sa sinabi mo. Saan ka nakakita na may nilabag na batas tapos sasabihin ‘wag silang pakialaman? Malaki man ang miyembro ng INC pero dapat malaman nila na mas Malaki ang sambayanang Pilipino na naniniwala sa tama at makatarungang gobyerno. Ang mga INC members dapat ‘wag sunod ng sunod na nakapikit ang mga mata. Ang Pilipinas kung papansinin ninyo ay marami ang pahirap na dinadanas dahil na rin sa inaasal ng marami: Kung ano ang inuutos ng Diyos, yun ang nilalabag.

      • Absolutely correct. I totally agree. It’s about time for the few leaders of INC to realize that what they’re doing is wrong.

    7. Need to continue the investigation against the INC because no one, no organization is above the law. This protest lets the Filipino people and individual INC members that there are organizations out there that will try to intimidate even the government. If they can intimidate the government, they can surely intimidate you. The INC have done their press conferences citing DOJ’s unfairness and the people of the Philippines have heard it. The INC have done their protest and now they must end it. Anymore protest will negatively impact thousands of ordinary non ICN citizens. Continued protests should be dealt with accordingly by the Philippines authorities other wise the ordinary citizens affected will no longer tolerate it and a clash between the INC and non INC ordinary citizen will happen. Don’t have to be a genius to know who will be the loser. Protect the flock and continue the protest at the Arena.

      As for Binay, Poe, and the weak minded. Thank you for showing us your true colors.

      To Mar Roxas, good job and don’t worry about INCs block voting. Didn’t do you any good last time anyway. Lesson for you Sec De Lima.

      • You’re absolutely correct. No one is above the law. INC should stop their nuisance and useless demonstration to our government especially to DOJ De Lima who has been tough and right to investigate what’s happening inside INC. Maraming naabala na tao sa EDSA. There is more to come out of the closet for INC!
        As for the candidates you’ve mentioned who have been quite or remain unresponsive, who can not take the heat have decided to stay out of the oven.

    8. louie clemente on

      This is a case of blind leading the blind. What have we learn from this is binay and grace poe cannot be trusted to hold higher position. From etnemelc

    9. this inc always demands/blackmails the govt. to appoint their very own kapatids in the highest positions in the govt.! this is the group’s clear violation of “separation of church and the state”!

    10. INC is no longer a religion but a business it should be tax and also a place where crook politician get their votes,their action should not be tolerated nobody is above law even.

    11. No body is above the law, if the management of INC found guilt well they have to go to jail. No one is above the law even he is a high ranking church member. If you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit, you should begin formulating your defense immediately. Start by identifying evidence that could bolster your case, and refrain from offering the government anything incriminating. Beating a criminal charge will require perseverance, clear thinking, and effective legal representation, but it’s certainly possible. what is the used of INC legal department?

    12. Lina of customs was lambasted by the ofw for his actions and now de lima by the Inc and both proclaim with straight faces “we are just doing our duties to implement the law”. What hypocrites really these morons are. Of all people these two have no right to take that stand being law violators themselves and they know what I am saying. As it is said “what goes around comes around” they reap what they have sowed and no sympathy to them from me and this as well applies to mar and the rest of the pnoy clones. I don’t support the Inc system of holding hostage politicians with block voting but this administration’s idiocy has put upon itself this malady starting with losing the ofw millions of voters and now the Inc.

      • Even in the military this gov’t. Is very unpopular due t the mamasapano tragedy… votes from these ranks will not go with the admin bet for sure…..they sure have this penchant for antagonizing people from all sectors of our society….

      • With due respect if you were on their shoes, you would do the same. DO YOUR JOB! It’s not a popularity contest like what the Binay and Poe would like to do or doing. They are confronting the problem head on. Eto ang kulang sa mga maraming Filipino..Balls! Disciplina!

    13. I learned that all ministers are being asked by the leadership to open their Face Book and social media to defend the church against critics. Some vigorously defend while those who disagree or not happy choose to keep quiet as long as they keep their FB open.

    14. Ang buong akala ng mga INC ay sunod-sunoran lang sa kanila ang mga taong govierno lalo na yong mga candidato at kaya nilang isantabi ang Batas. No body is above the LAW . ANO NAMAN ang konekyon ng Mamasapano 44 sa katarantaduhan ng ilang namumuno sa kanila. Kung may nagawa ka at may reklamo harapin mo bilang isang marangal na tao. Kaso tinatakot at pinapahirapan ninyo ang taong bayan.Nasaan ang makaDIYOS na turo ng inyong samahan? Dapat Iglesia Ni Colapo ang tawag sa samahan ninyo.

      • baket? talaga naman yuko lahat sa INC, lalo nang malapit na ang halalan, walang tanga na kokontra liban lang kung ayaw mo ng boto nila. Tayong mga hindi pulitiko magagaling mamintas at magpuna, antayin mong tumakbo sa halalan at maiintindihan mo rin.

    15. What has Ces Drilon done except to do her job? Of course she can only interview those expelled because active members are not allowed to speak.

    16. INC’s stupid actions come at a time when the government is desperate in solving the traffic problems. Is this what INC is contributing to the people and country?

    17. Just when the Sanggunian thought everything was working out on their favor, their actions in response to the past events only unravelled one mistake after another and followed by a series of cover ups. As a result, the graveness of their situation has spiralled only in direction- downwards! Until now, they are shooting arrows on the wind, responding to situations impulsively as if they are Running the Bulls of Pamplona, spiralling not only downwards but into every street corner of uncontrolable chaos.

      • Kailangang magpakita na si EV Manalo para alam ng Sanggunian kung sino ang tunay na boses ng Iglesia. Ang laking kahihiyan ang bumagsak sa Iglesia na itinayo ni Felix at Erano Manalo dahil sa maling desisyon ng dalawa o tatlo sa mga Sanggunian.

    18. when the public went to a rally against President Marcos at
      EDSA there is not a person who voiced against it due to hardship it felt because of heavy of traffic ,thrash left behind by the marchers and yelling to bring down the government. Now the INC is forced to defend it’s belief why so many people are saying ridiculous words. Where is the balance of their judgement and that goes also to the politician who treat the INC a very impartial. This also true to ABS CBN who do not report the true story. Look how orderly the show of support of the brethren, even cleaning the area and not damaging any property.

      • excuse me, what you are doing is not defending your faith. but the wrongdoing of your church or your church minister. your faith is not the one that is under attack here but the wrongdoing.. and the state has a function to apply.

      • Joseph Olesco on

        That is precisely the point. The INC is not fighting for their religious freedom.The Members are being manipulated by its leaders to cover up their wrongdoings.When the INC filed a case against Eli Soriano You didn’t see Dating daan members making a public nuisance of themselves.They allowed the case to play out.If your leaders are really innocent then let them face the case against them.Again the case is not against your religion the case is against certain members of your religion who allegedly detained another member of your religion.

    19. The INC cannot organize a new Edza protest because they do not have the credibility to do such a thing. The only problem where this cult can cause is in the political side because of their block-voting power. For sure, Mar Roxas and Leila Dilemma will be in the receiving end of the INC’s wrath.

      • They are doing it right right under the very noses of this yellow gov’t. And they couldn’t do anything about it….walang ka imik-imik …..mga takot!!!!!

    20. You must be kidding Rep. Barry Gutierez on your advise to head on confrontation with the INC. Your ally Secretary Leila De Lima did an epal here. She could have ask the Quezon City fiscals to handle the case instead of giving priority on it the DOJ. I wonder if your party list Cong. Gutierez can justify your party member Rizza Hontiveros appearing in commercial ads for Philhealth and worst she even have to mention her complete name. In the first place why does the Philhealth have to advertise when it is mandatory for every employer to enrol their in the health insurance with Philhealth? Even if say it is necessary why does it has to be Rizza Hontiveros to be endorser? Epal na epal, sana mapuna ito ni Jim Paredes at Lea Navarro.

      • jeffrey p guzman on

        mr ramos you are not enlighten, you walk blindly, following blind leaders. INCM contribute much on Philippine govt corruption. talasan mo lang ang pangunawa mo. nakakahiya

    21. Parang Binay ang Sanggunian. “Selective Injustice!!! Huwag muna kami, una-una lang.” At saka “… may immunity kami, hindi ba ninyo alam sikat kami?!”