MANILA - The Iglesia ni Cristo has 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.
Purisima said the permit to rally has been granted by Atty. Fortun Mayuga, head of the business permits and licensing office, and Secretary to the Mayor Atty. Edward Serapio.
Thousands of Iglesia ni Cristo members have gathered outside the Department of Justice for two straight days to protest the alleged selective justice being done by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima against the INC leadership.
Iglesia members have accused de Lima of meddling into the Iglesia ni Cristo's affairs and of giving special attention to the criminal charges filed by former INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. against members of the INC Sanggunian.
Malacanang said government has the duty to implement law and does not intend to meddle in the affairs of the Iglesia.
It said it trusts the expressions of dissent will continue to be peaceful and orderly and not disruptive.
The demonstrations have already affected scheduled hearings on some complaints filed before the Department of Justice's National Prosecution Service. This includes the preliminary investigation of the libel case filed by suspended Makati Mayor Junjun Binay against a number of personalities including Senator Antonio Trillanes.
Binay was unable to submit his counter-affidavit since he could not enter the compound.
Some are also complaining that they are having a hard time getting to the nearby Philippine General Hospital.
Meanwhile, Samson's lawyers describe the INC protest outside the DOJ as irrational. They also called on the INC to cooperate instead in the investigation and answer Samson's allegations.
They also described INC's action as a form of bullying.
"Instead of answering the allegations at preliminary investigation, they immediately call out the Department of Justice officials as being biased...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 lawyers said.
In his complaint, Samson said he and his family were placed under house arrest after he was accused of writing a blog that exposed alleged corruption within the INC.