Church hits Angel’s ‘lies, empty claims’

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Iglesia ni Cristo spokesperson Edwil Zabala yesterday debunked allegations made by the brother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo that the church council had issued threats to the lives of expelled members.

“They are just trying to ride on the attention as we are about to celebrate our anniversary (on July 27),” Zabala said of the plea for help aired by Manalo’s younger brother Angel earlier this week.

Hours after being expelled from the church, various signs were seen at the window of the house where Angel and his mother are staying.

The messages included a plea for help as they were supposedly being held “hostage” inside the INC-owned house where the Manalo matriarch Cristina “Tenny” Manalo resides.

But when asked about the messages yesterday, Angel dismissed it as a joke, saying there was a child among them who might have been affected by the situation.

He clarified that they are not being held against their will, but reiterated reports that there are ministers supportive of them who are currently missing.

Zabala, however, took exception to the clarification on the signs posted at the Manalo residence, describing it as a bad joke.

“Is this the kind of person that we should believe in?” he added.

Zabala refused to discuss further the claims made by Angel, saying these are merely empty allegations.

“Our initial statement is more than sufficient,” he said.

On Thursday, INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago announced that the church will expel those who have created divisions among their ranks and answered point-by-point the allegations made by Angel and Tenny in the video uploaded on YouTube.

“What Angel Manalo and his mother said in calling for partners of Iglesia to help them as allegedly their lives are in danger, plus allegations that ministers have been taken, insinuating that Iglesia is involved, is not true,” Santiago said in Filipino.

He said that they are now leaning on the words of God and on what is written in the bible through their executive minister.

Santiago said they think the YouTube post was intended to get sympathy in order to get what they want, which is control of the Iglesia, implying that the video was part of a possible power grab in the sect.

“(They want to) interfere in the administration of the Church,” Santiago said in Filipino.

He maintained that INC is not a family corporation, but a religion that follows the rules and words of God as written in the bible.

A source told The STARthat the expulsion of Angel, Tenny, sister Lolita and another minister was announced during the worship services on Thursday night.

Another source also confirmed that there appears to be a power struggle within the church.

Emotions run high

Emotions ran high during Thursday’s Pagsamba or church service in all Iglesia ni Cristo chapels as the ministers formally announced the circular expelling four members of the Manalo family.

An INC member said that a minister announced that Angel Manalo, his brother Marco, sister Lolita or Lottie and their mother Tenny have been expelled.

The circular, signed by INC general secretary Radel Cortez, was approved by executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

All INC members were told not to talk or communicate to all those who were ex-communicated.

The INC members said they were saddened with what happened to the family as it seemed contrary to their doctrine – to love your brothers and sisters.

“We feel the sorrow, they started it, it is sad that it happened,” an INC member said in Filipino.

The INC members, however, clarified that their faith in their church is not affected by current developments.

Meanwhile, some INC members delivered food to the residence of Tenny at No. 36 Tandang Sora Ave., Quezon City where she, Angel and Lottie are holed up.

They said they are not being held hostage but they are afraid to get out of the house for fear that they might be harmed.

Food was also ordered from various fastfood restaurants like Jollibee, McDonalds and Ineng’s.

Sources said some of the food orders were made by INC members from Singapore that made online orders.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and QC Police District (QCPD) director Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao visited the Manalo residence on Tandang Sora Ave. last Thursday night.

Pagdilao, who was able to talk to Angel, said that the Manalos wanted privacy and assured their supporters that they are all okay inside the house, contrary to previous claims that their lives are in danger.

He also clarified that there was no abduction case.













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