Angel Manalo protests ‘illegal’ fencing off of Iglesia family compound
MANILA, Philippines — A scuffle ensued on Tuesday as Iglesia ni Cristo guards prevented expelled minister Angel Manalo from allowing members of the media to come inside the disputed Tandang Sora compound in Quezon City.
“You can come in, so you can see what they’re doing,” Angel Manalo, brother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo, told reporters who were covering the court-ordered inspection of the property.
The situation became tense when Angel Manalo and his housemaids pushed the guards blocking the pedestrian gate of No. 36 Tandang Sora Avenue.
This reporter was crushed to the gate due to the commotion. Moving to a better position, this reporter was pulled by the guards while being coaxed by the other side to go in.
“Dito lang po ako sa gilid. (I will just stand here at the side),” this reporter said. Media members told Angel Manalo that they could not come in because of the pending petition of Iglesia ni Cristo to bar visitors at the two-hectare compound.
“Pinatigil nga yung pagbabakod. Pero lumalabag sila. Binabakuran kami. Wala pang court order. Wala pang napagdesisyunan. Pinasok kami mula sa loob ng Central compound (The sheriff stopped them from fencing us off. But they’re violating the law. There is no decision on the case yet. They sneaked up on us from the Central compound),” Manalo said.
Construction workers came in from the back entrance to fence off the compound with metal rods, tin roof, and barbed wire.
This happened while opposing lawyers were discussing their proposed terms of the inspection, housemaid Lea Cabillan said.
Court sheriff Neri Loy told the men to stop but they resumed after he left, she said.
The Iglesia ni Cristo asked the court in September to prevent Angel Manalo and Lottie Manalo-Hemedez from receiving visitors at the disputed compound. The injunction case was prompted by unidentified masked men entering the property, the petition said.
The siblings’ counsel Trixie Cruz-Angeles had said that the church was “isolating the people who are inside.” Hemedez, through ex-minister Isaias Samson, previously said she would challenge INC’s claim to the property.
In connection with the petition, Judge Edgar Santos of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 222 granted an ocular inspection of the Tandang Sora compound to determine the identities of the occupants and to note the entry points.
Aside from the sheriff, no more than two lawyers from each camp, barangay officials and policemen were allowed to go in. Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan for the respondents, Wilfredo Santos and Zeromsky Pineda for the INC.
The expelled Manalo siblings have been holed up in the property since Angel Manalo and their mother Tenny Manalo came out with a video calling for help in July. Other expelled ministers have come out to accuse the church of corruption and illegal detention.
“Dinala nila sa korte ito eh kaya dapat sana man lang makipagkaisa sila sa korte. Wala pang napag-uusapan, binakuran na agad. Kung maaari kunan n’yo ginagawa doon dahil illegal ang pagbabakod nila (They brought this in court so they should follow the court. We haven’t agreed on anything and now they’re fencing us off. Please take a footage of what they’re doing, it’s illegal),” Manalo said.
The inspection was rescheduled because the parties were still negotiating and not because of the commotion, the court sheriff said when he returned. SFM
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