Supporters gather outside home of Manalo matriarch, son
A handful of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) supporters, wearing white arm bands, have trooped to the Manalo home on Tandang Sora, Quezon City, to show support for the church executive minister’s brother and mother who were expelled from the INC for allegedly sowing disunity.
INC member and Quezon City resident Sarah Manuel, 34, said that when she saw the video of Angel and Tenny Manalo asking for help on Wednesday evening, she ended up crying. She started checking on the gated Manalo home the same night.
Angel is the brother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo while Tenny is the mother of the INC leader. An official statement from the INC said Eduardo agreed to the expulsion of his brother and mother from the church as decided upon by the INC’s overall leadership.
As Manuel held vigil in front of the compound on Thursday, she learned from other Iglesia supporters, who also went to check on the Manalo home, that the family’s water and electricity had been reportedly cut.
“We don’t want a fight. I just saw the video last night where they were asking for help. Our initial reaction, as people who love Iglesia, is we just want to help. We want to give them food or drink, and even offer to bring them to their family elsewhere,” she told media reporters, as she held vigil in front of the compound on Thursday.
“I can’t answer as to what happened to them. I’ve always thought Iglesia was doing fine. I don’t know the issue, I just saw the video. I hope there is no threat to their lives,” she said.
Having been holding vigil outside the Manalo home at noontime, Manuel said she was surprised to learn from media that Angel and Tenny had been ousted from the church.
“I wasn’t informed that they have been ousted [from the church]. That saddens me. I grew up Iglesia, and they have always taught us to love, family values [kapatiran],” Manuel said. She said this was what the white arm band represented.
But since Wednesday night, no one from inside the compound had gone out to speak to the supporters or media outside. Knocks on the gate went unanswered.
As of noontime, however, a sign was held up from one of the windows inside the compound, stating: “Tulong. Hostage kami (Help us. We are hostages).” By 5 p.m. another sign was posted on a window: “Where are the missing ministers?” In the video, Tenny had mentioned the abduction of ministers. At least five supporters who were praying outside the gate were also allowed to enter at 5 p.m.
At the vigil outside the Manalo home, Bulacan-based Shirley and Roel Rosal, who claimed they were ousted in June from the Iglesia because they were trying to expose “corruption” among their ministers, told the media that 10 ministers had been missing since last week.
Roel said church members had been hearing rumors of a schism within the Manalo family, but that he and his wife believed it was being encouraged by a “third party” from the church administration.
“It was unjust, what they did [to Angel and Tenny]. It’s painful. Tenny is a good person. For 46 years, she helped Ka Erdy,” Shirley said. (Erdy is the nickname of the INC founder, Eraño Manalo, who passed away years ago.)
An emotional Shirley said she went to the Manalo home because of the video, and of calls for support on social networking sites. Shirley was one of those who saw the “hostage” sign. “There was even a drone [a while ago], and people monitoring us,” she also recounted.
“We just want the ministry cleansed, because we love the ministry. We love ka Erdy’s family. We are loyal to them,” she said.
The other supporters said of the missing ministers, they knew of one who had the last name “Samson,” one with last name “Olarte,” Lowell Menorca, and Arnel Tumanan.
A Facebook page the supporters kept referring media to, with the account name “Sher Lock,” said Menorca, who was abducted in Sorsogon, was found detained at the Dasmariñas, Cavite police detention cell on trumped up charges of grave threats and possession of a grenade.
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