Iglesia ni Cristo sues expelled minister for libel

By Janvic Mateo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 28 2015 09:56 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2015 05:56 PM

MANILA - The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) yesterday filed libel charges against an expelled minister for accusing the century-old religious organization of committing various crimes, including illegal detention and torture, against its members.

The INC, through its head legal counsel Glicerio Santos IV, filed the complaint before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office against expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr. over allegations he made during a press conference on July 23.

“The allegation that INC committed illegal detention and that it threatened the life of respondent are scurrilous and clearly defamatory,” read the six-page complaint.

“The accusations that the leadership of INC lied and concealed the truth are likewise negative and libelous,” it added.

The complaint has yet to be raffled to a prosecutor who will conduct the preliminary investigation.

At the height of the feud among ranking officials of the INC last week, Samson, the former editor-in-chief of INC’s publication Pasugo, held a press conference and accused INC leaders of detaining him against his will.

He also said that the INC leadership lied and concealed the truth, particularly on the alleged abduction of some ministers as claimed by Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo, brother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

But Santos said Samson cast the INC as a church that condoned and permitted its members to commit felonies when it supposedly illegally detained the latter as claimed.

Santos added that malice is presumed since the remarks cast INC in a bad light and scurried its reputation. “In fact, even respondent realized that his malicious accusations would destroy the church and its followers.”

Santos also sought the issuance of a lookout bulletin order against Samson, who is reportedly attempting to flee the country.

In a video posted on Facebook, Samson provided details on how he supposedly escaped from house arrest.

Samson said he played along with members of the Sanggunian who asked him to give an interview to disprove the abduction claims.

“I know that they are going to use me, but I played along (so that we can escape),” said Samson in the video.

Samson is part of the group claiming anomalies within the highly secretive but politically influential religious organization.

The INC leadership also expelled the executive minister’s mother Cristina Manalo, and his siblings Angel, Lolita and Marco.

Meanwhile, three INC ministers executed affidavits denying they were kidnapped for resisting corruption in their 101-year-old church.

Insiders from INC told The STAR that Julius Nemis, Nolan Olarte and Joven Sepillo surfaced last week to deny the allegations made by Eliodoro Yuson Jr., another expelled minister.

A source from the Department of Justice said that the three ministers submitted affidavits to the National Bureau of Investigation as part of the probe into the INC controversy.

The INC insiders, who declined to be identified over fear of expulsion as INC bars members from discussing their problems in public, said the ministers were “shocked” by Yuson’s claims.

Yuson is considered a supporter of Angel, who was allegedly detained for exposing problems in the INC. In an interview with Quezon city police, however, Angel retracted his earlier claims of forced detention.

INC expelled Yuson last year for insubordination and abandonment of duty. Six months after expulsion, Yuson gave media interviews and claimed that several ministers have been snatched for exposing corruption in INC. – With AieBalagtas See

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