INC objects as Manalo sibs tap Faeldon firm for security
THE “DISTURBING” presence of former Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon in the Iglesia ni Cristo compound on Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City, was questioned by an INC lawyer on Friday as the church pressed on with its court petition to bar expelled members Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo and Lolita “Lottie” Manalo-Hemedez from receiving visitors.
Aside from citing the presence of the former renegade officer, lawyer Serafin Cuevas Jr. also asked a Quezon City court to finally let an INC representative enter the property and list down the rest of the people staying with the two siblings of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo.
Faeldon, one of the young military officers who staged the 2003 Oakwood mutiny against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is now a co-owner of a security agency. When he surrendered, his legal counsel then was Trixie Cruz Angeles, who now represents Angel and Lottie.
According to Ahmed Paglinawan, another counsel for the Manalo siblings, he and Angeles earlier accompanied Faeldon to the compound to make an assessment since Angel and Lottie wanted to have their own security guards.
In the ensuing exchange in court, Cuevas asked: “If everything is peaceful, why the need to beef up security? May we be privileged to be informed what kind of threat [is there], from who, from where?”
Paglinawan noted that the guardhouse and portable toilet installed by the INC at the compound’s gate last week continued to block the entry of vehicles. In the previous hearing, Angeles demanded the removal of the two structures, claiming they were being used by the religious group to harass the Manalo siblings and put them in “de facto detention.”
Judge Edgar Dalmacio Santos then asked Paglinawan: “Your clients had not left since the alleged expulsion?”
“Yes, because they cannot leave the place,” Paglinawan replied, adding that some people who earlier went out were “followed and harassed.”
The judge then cited media reports that the siblings might not be allowed to return to the compound once they go out.
Asked about the reports in an interview after the proceedings, Cuevas said he would give his comment in the next hearing on Oct. 15.
Cuevas also filed an opposition to the Manalo siblings’ motion seeking the removal of the portalet, the guardhouse and the INC-installed security cameras pointed at the Manalo residence. The motion also alleged that food delivery personnel were also being harassed by INC-posted guards.
If the Manalo siblings still won’t comply with an earlier agreement to give INC a list of the compound occupants, Cuevas said, a church representative should be allowed to enter under the supervision of the court sheriff and accompanied by the police or village watchmen.
“The continuing failure [of the respondent to provide a list] has created such apprehension that they are concealing and/or harboring persons that might pose a risk or danger to people belonging to [Iglesia ni Cristo],” according to the opposition.
On the alleged harassment of the siblings using a P1.3-million electricity billing and disconnection notice, the INC argued that it was actually “magnanimous enough to pay the previous electric bill which is of similar stupendous amount.”
Prior to the expulsion of the siblings, it said, the church shouldered the electricity bill incurred by the compound occupants as part of the “benefits” they enjoyed as ministers and as son and daughter of then executive minister Eraño Manalo.
“However, upon their expulsion, Angel Manalo, [Lottie Manalo and three others] are no longer part of the church and [the INC] therefore [are] not obliged to provide the previous benefits and privileges [they] used to enjoy,” it added.
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