MANILA - After a long day of protests, members of the Iglesia ni Cristo held an overnight vigil outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) compound on Padre Faura street in Ermita, Manila.
Thousands of people gathered outside the DOJ compound to protest Secretary Leila De Lima's alleged meddling into the affairs of the INC.
Police have advised motorists to avoid the area.
According to police, the INC members were able to secure a rally permit but they cannot tell until when the protesters will stay outside DOJ.
Crowd is estimated at more than 2,000 people.
The protest of the INC members came after the filing of an illegal detention case by expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. against eight leaders of the religious sect.
Samson alleged that he and his family were held captive inside their home after he was accused of writing a blog that revealed corruption practices and other irregularities inside the church.
SAMSON'S CAMP CRIES BULLYING
In an interview on radio dzMM, Samson appealed to the INC members protesting outside the DOJ office to let the rule of law prevail.
"Huwag po sana nating daanin sa init, at sa halip po ay gawin natin itong kaparaanan para malaman ang katotohonan. Dahil kung hahayaan natin na umusad ang katarungan, ang batas, makikita kung sino ang tunay na lumabag at may mga nilabag," he said.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Samson described INC's call for vigil as "irrational" and "non-responsive."
"Instead of answering the allegations at preliminary investigation, they immediately call out the Department of Justice officials as being biased, based solely on their perception that the mere docketing of the case at the main office is already proof of said "selective justice," lawyers Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan said in a statement.
"They believe that a massing of people pressuring officials to rule in their favor is a strategy that gets them off the hook. They fail to see that they look like bullies at the gate demanding that the DOJ rule in a certain way - THEIR way. They fail to see that they aren't demanding justice, they are demanding special privileges," the statement added.
The INC leadership has yet to reply to the statements of Samson's camp.