What split? What corruption? — Iglesia ni Cristo spokesman
[UPDATE] An Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) official on Friday denied that the organization has become divided following the expulsion of several ministers and a controversial call for help from the mother and younger brother of executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo.
“Hindi po porke’t may tumiwalag eh nangangahulugan nang divided ang Iglesia ni Cristo. Iilang tao lamang po ito na mga itiniwalag. Ang Iglesia ni Cristo ay malaking organisasyon po hindi lamang sa Pilipinas,” INC spokesman Edwil Zabala told Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
(Just because some members were expelled doesn’t mean that Iglesia ni Cristo is already divided. Only a few were expelled. The Iglesia ni Cristo is a major organization not just in the Philippines.)
READ: House of Manalo divided
He said the INC was not in crisis and that the decision to expel Manalo’s mother Tenny and his brother Angel does not affect the belief of INC’s followers.
The other two members who were expelled were Tenny’s other children Lolita “Lottie” Manalo-Hemedez and Marco Eraño Villanueva Manalo
Angel earlier released a YouTube video calling for help because their lives were in danger.
On Thursday, the INC announced their expulsion, days before the organization’s 101st anniversary on July 27. They, along with other ministers, were expelled for “causing division in the Iglesia.”
“They allege that some ministers have been kidnapped. They want to make it appear that Iglesia is involved. That’s not true,” INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago said in a press conference.
While he denied the split, Zabala called the incident “well-orchestrated,” noting that other supposed detractors of the INC gave statements after the YouTube video was released.
Isaias Samson, former editor in chief of the INC publication Pasugo (God’s Message), appeared during a hastily-called press conference in Manila on Thursday evening. He claimed that the INC was after him because of he had opposed INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. He said he was also accused of being the man behind the blog of Antonio Ebangelista, who has released critical articles against the group.
“Kitang kita po namin ‘yung kanilang pag-paplano (We can see that they’ve been planning this),” Zabala insisted.
He also denied claims of corruption.
“Meron silang ilalabas sa publiko na ‘di umano ang description nila ay mga katiwalian pero paano po na sabay-sabay nilang ilabas sa publiko eh isa-isa din po na nagiging malinaw ‘yung kasinungalingan sa likod ng kanilang nilalabas,” he explained.
(They are supposed to release descriptions of anomalies but as they simultaneously say this to the public, one by one the lies are revealed.)
Zabala said their detractors have yet to release details on the “so-called anomalies.”
“Wala po silang mailalabas na detalye o anuman na ebidensya dahil wala naman pong nangyayaring katiwalian,” he said.
(They cannot show any detail or evidence because there is no corruption.)
He pointed out that those who claimed that they are being held against their will, referring to Angel, eventually faced the police and the media and said that the sign posted on the window of the home about a hostage-taking was made by a child.
He said the reason why Angel might have initially prevented the police from entering their home in Tandang Sora was because they don’t want the truth to come out that they are only making stories.
No more expulsion?
Zabala said, personally, he hopes no one else would be expelled.
“Ang layunin ng Iglesia ni Cristo ay ang pagbabalik loob ng tao kay Kristo at sa Diyos at hindi ang pag-aalis. Subalit kung ang taong pinababalik at tinuturuan ng aral ng bibliya ay ayaw ng itaguyod ang aral ng bibliya eh wala po talagang pwedeng gawin ang pamamahala ng Iglesia ni Cristo kun’di ipatupad din naman ang aral ng bibliya,” he said.
(The objective of Iglesia ni Cristo is for the people to return to Christ and God and not to leave. But if the person who is supposed to return and is studying the lessons of the bible is not willing to uphold such lessons then the Iglesia ni Cristo can only implement what is in accordance to the teachings of the bible.)
Zabala also said that the INC was not a “family corporation” and is instead a religion.
“Hindi po ang pinag-uusapan ay kung kamag-anak o hindi kaanak (We are not talking about relatives here),” he said.
Asked if the expelled members will be asked to vacate their home, which is under INC housing, he said they won’t force them to leave the premises and will instead wait for them to leave voluntarily. IDL
First published at 11:20 a.m. on July 24
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