Iglesia case to go through regular process – de Lima
THE complaints filed against some leaders of Iglesia ni Cristo will undergo the regular process, like any other cases filed at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Wednesday.
“The complaints will go thru the regular process. That means it will be assigned to a prosecutor or panel of prosecutors for preliminary investigation,” de Lima said in a text message to reporters.
Expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr., his wife and son filed a complaint for harassment, illegal detention, coercion against members of the Sanggunian, the INC’s highest administrative council, namely:
– Atty. Glicero Santos Jr.,
– Radel Cortez,
-Bienvenido Santiago Sr.,
The complainants alleged that they were prohibited from leaving their house in Quezon City last July after he was accused of being “Antonio Ebanghelista,” the blogger who have been writing damning stories about some INC leaders.
At the height of the INC crisis, Samson said armed men were guarding their house. His wife who has a heart condition was prohibited from going to a hospital, and instead, a doctor was sent to their house.
On July 23, he said when he called for a press conference, a certain Colonel Pedroso and some policemen showed up and claimed they will secure and protect him but they scampered away after members of the media tried to approach them.
Last July 30, complainants said they received news that the Sanggunian ordered the forcible opening of their house to search and seize all their belongings.
The INC denounced de Lima for giving excessive attention to the complaints against INC.
Last Aug. 27, during de Lima’s birthday, the INC kicked off its protest that ended Monday after an “understanding” between the church and the government was reached.
Both parties, however denied there was an agreement.
Another complaint against Sanggunian members was filed by another expelled member, Lito de Luna Fruto. He was arrested last month for a rape case in Caloocan City after admitting that he was one of the bloggers attacking the INC leadership that led to his expulsion from the church.
Fruto said his troubles with the INC started when he answered a post of Lottie on Facebook asking for help because there are vehicles following her brother Angel.
He alleged that there are powerful people behind executive minister Eduardo Manalo who are actually running the affairs of the church.
Manalo, the current head of the INC administration, was not impleaded in both cases
A preliminary investigation is a proceeding to determine if there is sufficient ground to believe that a crime has been committed and the respondents should be held for trial.
After the filing of the complaint, the case will be assigned to a prosecutor who will issue a subpoena and order respondents to answer the complaint in the form of a counter-affidavit.
However, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said they have yet to assign a prosecutor to handle the case.
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