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Iglesia Ni Cristo case not closed yet–DOJ

The Department of Justice has not yet closed the case on the alleged abductions and hostage-taking in the Iglesia ni Cristo, even if there is an initial report from a National Bureau of Investigation division dismissing the allegations, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

“It’s not case closed yet because we’re still finishing it (investigation),” De Lima said.

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She said the DOJ agencies involved, including an NBI team, are still wrapping up the investigation.

“My instruction is to speed it up so we can learn the truth,” De Lima told reporters on Wednesday.

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The NBI’s anti-organized transnational crime division chief earlier cleared the religious group of the abduction allegations.

 

Unnamed victims

De Lima pointed out, however, that concerning the alleged kidnapping and torture of about 10 INC ministers, most of those allegedly abducted have not been identified.

“So those unnamed are being traced,” she said.

Aside from the alleged abductions, investigators are also focusing on the situation of Angel and Cristina Manalo, the expelled younger brother and mother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

“We want to know the real situation inside the house of Manalo’s brother Angel, because there are a lot of speculations as to why they’re holding out there, why they’re not letting people in, etc. Are they detained there, or what is that all about?” De Lima said.

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She said investigators were able to access the main headquarters of the INC, but not the house of Angel.

Meanwhile, the people holed up inside the Manalo home on Tandang Sora Ave. in Quezon City want the police posted outside the house to go.

 

Harassed by police

On Tuesday afternoon, expelled INC minister Roel Rosal, speaking with journalists through an opening in the pedestrian gate of the walled compound, claimed the police have been “harassing” them and their supporters.

Rosal, with his wife and son, was with the INC supporters holding vigil outside the house since Wednesday last week, following a video-recorded plea for help from Angel and Tenny Manalo, the excommunicated brother and mother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo. He and others in his group were finally allowed into the compound last Sunday.

Rosal claimed that other supporters could not approach the compound because they were being “chased away” by the police. He also accused the police cars parked along the street and on the driveway of “blocking” the entry of food deliveries into the compound.

But media members staking staking out the house the past few days have repeatedly witnessed the unhampered food deliveries. They said the police would only briefly inspect the food.

Rosal claimed the police were under instruction “not to let people come to the compound,” though he could not say who were issuing such instructions.

Seeking CHR help

He also asked for help from lawyers and from the Commission on Human Rights to drive out the police.

Rosal said the people inside the compound were doing “OK” but confirmed they still had no electricity. He said they subsisted on food and water that their supporters were bringing them.

Representatives from CHR who went to the compound on Tuesday afternoon and spoke to Rosal at the gate said the food blockade allegation was easily disproved as they themselves witnessed food being delivered.

However, CHR investigator Jun Nalangan criticized the police for blocking the driveway with their police car. With Veronica Roque

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TAGS: Department of Justice, DoJ, Hostage taking, Iglesia ni Cristo, Leila de Lima, National Bureau of Investigation
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