TIMELINE: Iglesia Ni Cristo in crisis


Posted at Aug 28 2015 10:38 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2015 07:44 AM

MANILA - It all started with a call for help.

A crisis inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) church came out in public after Cristina "Tenny" Manalo, the widow of INC's former executive minister Eraño "Erdy" Manalo, and their son, Felix Nathaniel "Angel," were expelled after posting a video where they appealed for help from members of the INC.

Other issues against the leadership also surfaced, with some former members accusing INC leaders of corruption and abduction.

On Thursday, INC members stormed the Department of Justice (DOJ) compound in Manila, protesting that the government should respect the separation of the state and the church, and the freedom of religion of the INC.

Here are the key events involving the controversial crisis:

JULY 23, 2015: Tenny and Angel Manalo were expelled from INC after posting a video appealing for help. INC leaders denied claims that the lives of Angel and Tenny were in danger. They also denied that there was a conflict within the Manalo family

JULY 24, 2015: Angel alleged "massive corruption" in INC, adding that the anomalies started happening when his elder brother Eduardo, or "Eddie," became the leader of the church group in 2009.

Angel also claimed some INC members are "missing."

Some INC members also flocked to the Manalo home in Tandang Sora. They also asked their leader, Eddie Manalo, to talk to his brother and mother.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD), after talking to Angel Manalo and confirming that he was not being held against his will, said it will investigate the alleged abduction of INC ministers.

The plot thickened after Lowell Menorca II, who was supposed to be among the ministers "abducted" by INC leaders, denied that he was kidnapped or abducted.

Another "missing" minister, Jojo Nemis, also denied abduction claims.

Other allegations surfaced, including that of INC peddling its "bloc voting" power, according to suspended INC member Roel Rosal.

Isaias Samson Jr., another expelled minister, also called on INC members to speak up about the ills being committed by some INC leaders.

On the other hand, INC spokesman Edwil Zabala denied all allegations, including a claim by expelled member Joy Yuson that the INC was going bankrupt.

The crisis also reached the United States, with an expelled minister narrating his experience, and another minister resigning in front of the members of the church.

The crisis within the church continued for a week, and more "missing" ministers surfaced. Just like the other ministers, they all claimed that they were not abducted nor kidnapped.

Despite saying that they were not abducted, abduction allegations against the INC leadership did not die down. A brother of Lowell Menorca II, Anthony, claims that his brother was only forced to deny abduction.

Anthony, along with other witnesses, was later on admitted to the Witness Protection Program of the DOJ.

AUGUST 2015: As the crisis continued, more members were expelled from INC, including those who joined the protest in California.

After two weeks, news on the INC crisis died down, with only a few expelled members giving interviews and expressing their allegations in public.

The DOJ, under Secretary Leila De Lima, was also given the authority to investigate reports of alleged abduction of INC ministers.

The issue of the alleged abduction of ministers resurfaced on Wednesday, after Samson filed an illegal detention case against eight members of the INC's Sanggunian.

On Thursday, around a thousand members of the INC flocked to the DOJ compound in Manila, blocking De Lima from leaving the building.

According to the protesters, De Lima should respect the separation of church and state, as well as the freedom of religion of the INC.

They also said that the DOJ should focus on more important issues like the death of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in January.

The demonstration continued until Friday, with some members staying outside the DOJ overnight.

INC has also been granted a permit to continue its street demonstration in three areas in Manila until September 4, Friday.

Bambi Purisima of the Manila Public Information Office (PIO) said the religious group filed for extension of permit to rally from August 29 to September 4. The permit covers three areas in Manila - United Nations Avenue, Padre Faura Street and Pedro Gil Street.

On Friday evening, INC members moved from Padre Faura Street in Manila to a mall along EDSA. Members have started gathering in the area amid an alleged order from the INC leadership to continue the group's protest near the historic EDSA Shrine.