Ousted minister hopes case vs Iglesia leaders will prosper
Expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr. on Wednesday expressed hope the illegal detention complaint he filed against eight leaders of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) would prosper despite “pressure to dismiss the case.”
“Hopefully, (the illegal detention) case will push through and we can get justice,” Samson told reporters after attending the preliminary investigation of the libel complaint filed against him by INC.
INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago and Erano Codera were some of the INC leaders who attended the preliminary investigation but they left before Samson’s camp arrived. They refused to be interviewed by the media.
Samson and his lawyer Trixie Angeles received the complaint-affidavit filed on July 24 by INC represented by its head legal counsel Glicerio Santos IV. Samson will file a counter-affidavit next week.
The complaint alleged that the “stellar reputation” of Iglesia ni Cristo was tarnished when Samson claimed during a July 23 press conference at Bayview Hotel in Manila that he was imprisoned, prevented from having visitors and that his cell phone, bag and passport were taken away from him.
“The accusations also that the leadership of INC lied and concealed the truth are likewise negative and libelous,” the complaint added.
Samson took a swipe at INC leaders for invoking the separation of church and state during their five-day rally when he filed the illegal detention case at the Department of Justice whereas they were the ones who first filed a complaint against him.
“On the filing of libel against me, they filed it several weeks ago, long before I filed my case against them for illegal detention. This means they were really the first to file a case. It’s good that they did not invoke the separation of church and state when they filed the case against me. They only invoked that when it was my turn to file,” Samson said.
He also clarified that he did not file the case against INC executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo but only against eight members of the Sanggunian—Santos, Codera, Glicerio Santos Jr., Mathusalem Pareja, Maximo Bularan, Radel Cortes, Rodelio Cabrera and Rolando Esguerra.
“One of reasons why many INC members are angry at me is because of their belief that I was suing INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo and that I’m against the church. That’s not true,” Samson said.
“And it’s not true what they’re trying to accuse me, that I want to establish a new church. What I want in the church is not simply reformation, but I would say restoration,” Samson said. “I really thought about it when I filed the illegal detention case, hoping that at the end of the day, more corruption will be revealed through this.”
In a statement, Samson’s lawyers said, “We are receiving information that the proceedings at the DOJ will soon commence and that a prosecutor will be assigned to us.”
“We have high hopes for this, though it is clear that with the increased political interest generated by the (eight leaders), and their insistence on speaking with Malacanang and other wielders of power, we need to be vigilant,” the statement said.—With a report by Ria Consuelo Mendoza
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