Iglesia: Expelled Manalo sibs won’t let CHR probers in
THE SIBLINGS of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) executive minister Eduardo Manalo, who were expelled from the church almost a year ago, refuse to let into their section of an INC compound in Quezon City a team sent by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate their own allegations of harassment.
This was according to INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala, who said Angel Manalo and sister Lottie Manalo-Hemedez repeatedly refused to see CHR-National Capital Region special investigator Jun Nalangan and his team, who were supposed to verify the siblings’ complaint.
“They actively sought the help of the Commission, yet when the CHR appears at their doorstep these expelled church members always give all sorts of excuses not to let the investigators in. That is the classic conduct of people who are hiding something. They do not want the truth to be known,” Zabala said in a statement on Thursday.
Zabala dismissed the siblings’ claims as mere misinformation, adding: “The general public is now beginning to realize the complete lack of credibility of these publicity-hungry people and their small group of supporters.”
He said Nalangan and his team expressed frustration and confusion over Angel and Lottie’s lack of cooperation, adding that the CHR had already made five previous attempts to enter No. 36 Tandang Sora Avenue, where the ex-INC members and their families are staying.
Angel and Lottie earlier cried harassment by the INC leadership for exposing alleged irregularities in the church. The INC has sought the ejectment of the siblings, saying they are now illegally occupying church property after losing their INC membership.
According to Zabala, Nalangan also belied last week’s media reports that Angel and Lottie were being deprived of food, water and essential supplies by the INC-posted guards who stopped the delivery of provisions meant for the siblings.
Such security protocols were normal and within the rights of the INC to implement, the INC quoted the CHR official as saying. “The owners have every right to ensure the safety of everyone within the premises. There is nothing wrong with these security concerns.”
But the siblings’ lawyer, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, denied Zabala and Nalangan’s statements, saying that in all the instances that the CHR investigators arrived at 36 Tandang Sora, no notice was given either to the residents or their counsels.
“This is important because neither Ms Hemedez nor Mr. Manalo filed the complaints,” she told the Inquirer. Angeles said she only knew of two instances when CHR personnel arrived at the property.
“On the first day, the (CHR) investigator informed us that there is nothing official with his arrival at the Manalos’ residence,” she recalled.
She also said it was the CHR investigators who were the ones insisting that the siblings’ counsels be present when they inspect the compound.
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