'Missing' INC minister surfaces, denies being abducted


Posted at Jul 25 2015 01:03 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2015 02:33 AM

MANILA - One of the ministers allegedly abducted by the leadership of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has surfaced.

Speaking to radio dzMM early morning on Saturday, Jojo Nemis denied that he was among those supposedly held hostage by some members of the INC.

He said he is at home with his family in Quezon City and remains strong in faith as an INC member.

"Nagulat nga ako kanina nang may nagbabalita na ako daw ay nawala, nadukot, na-abduct. Eh lahat po ng yun ay di totoo," he said.

"Ako naman ay nasa mabuting kalagayan sa ngayon... Payapa naman at namumuhay tayo ng maayos," he added.

According to Nemis, he does not know why former INC member Joy Yuson would say that he was among the supposedly missing ministers.

"Wala akong idea bakit bigla niyang binanggit na kasama ko roon sa dinukot daw. Wala po, hindi ko matandaan kung ano po ang dahilan niya," he said. "Eh wala pong katotohanan lahat yan."

Like Nemis, INC minister Lowell Menorca II also denied reports that he was a victim of kidnapping.

But Yuson, a former member of the INC for over 20 years and a former administrative coordinator of the religious group's TV arm, insisted that Menorca was abducted by members of the INC's Sanggunian.

Yuson also claimed Menorca's wife and child were also abducted and are still missing.

Suspended minister Isaias Samson Jr., former editor-in-chief of the INC's official publication, likewise alleged that he was detained with his family members in his compound after leaders accused him of writing a blog that revealed corruption practices and other irregularities inside the church.

INC spokesman Edwil Zabala denied any knowledge of the alleged abductions. He said Yuson and Samson must show proof of their accusations.

Zabala also reiterated the INC's position that the church under executive minister Eduardo Manalo is following the teachings of the Bible.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the alleged abductions of INC ministers.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), meanwhile, said it is monitoring developments to ensure that the rights of all individuals involved are protected.

"We currently have two investigators on the ground monitoring the situation. We call on the law enforcement agencies to do all they can to protect all concerned and ensure public safety," the CHR said.