Expelled INC ministers lose membership perks

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - July 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Expelled ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) lose not only the chance to be “saved from hell,” but also the perks of membership in the secretive religious sect.

Roel Rosal, 46, one of the expelled ministers, said that the current Sanggunian or council has “killed” not only their future, but also the future of their children whom they considered as gifts to the church.

An INC minister is entitled to free housing, scholarships for their children at New Era University in Quezon City and medical benefits through Sundry, a counterpart of the government’s PhilHealth.

He, however, clarified that everything they gained at INC is the fruit of their dedication to the church.

Rosal, an INC member since 1989, was expelled from the sect after he and his family discovered and exposed the alleged wrongdoing of some ministers.

Aside from Rosal, several other ministers were also expelled by the church leadership.

Church leaders expelled last week INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo’s brother Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo, their mother Christina or Tenny, as well as siblings Marco Eraño and Lolita “Lottie” Manalo-Hemedez for allegedly sowing disunity within the organization.

Rosal, together with his wife and son, is one of the supporters inside the compound of the expelled Manalos at No. 36 Tandang Sora Ave., Quezon City. He said that corrupt ministers have been using the religion to extort money from politicians in exchange for their votes in past elections.

Rosal cried foul since the council expelled them allegedly without due process.

An INC member can only be expelled upon marrying a non-INC member, is wed before a judge or a Catholic priest, gets pregnant out of wedlock or have a relationship with a non-member.

They will also be excommunicated should they eat blood, eat food blessed by a Catholic priest, eat animals killed by hanging, get drunk or attend fiestas.

All INC members are also told not to defy any order of church management.

Rosal explained that before an INC member can be expelled, he will be given the opportunity to defend himself and time to reflect on his misdeeds.

He questioned the way the council expels INC members, saying that during the time of the late executive minister Eraño Manalo, the members could not be easily expelled.

He believes that they were not expelled by God, but only by the council members currently running the INC.  

Sarah Manuel, an INC member who was recently expelled for supporting Angel, said she still does not know if she will be allowed to enter college at the New Era University.

Rosal, however, still believes that the key to an everlasting peace within the INC remains in the hands of executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

Sibling rivalry

The current scandal rocking the INC is sibling rivalry blown out of proportion, two insiders privy to church politics said.

In separate interviews, the insiders said envy or jealousy stirred by a desire to gain power or control over the 101-year-old religious sect could have propelled Angel Manalo to revolt against his older brother Eduardo.

“It’s just jealousy and envy because since Eduardo was appointed, the council took away Angel’s privileges,” said one of the sources identified only as Raymundo.

Another source identified as Alex echoed the same observation. “Angel got angry when the things he wanted were not given to him,” said the other source.

Eduardo and Angel are grandsons of INC’s founder Felix Manalo. Their father Eraño succeeded the latter as executive minister and held the post from 1953 to 2009. 

It was under Erano’s watch that INC sealed its position as an influential sector in the Philippines not only in propagating the faith but also in delivering electoral votes.

It was under Erano’s watch, too, that members endearingly called his sons “princes.”

According to The STAR sources, while Eraño groomed Eduardo to succeed him, Angel was the apple of his eye. - With Aie Balagtas See, Janvic Mateo

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