MANILA – A commotion occurred at an Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) property in Quezon City on Tuesday evening, with one of the lawyers of expelled members of the church allegedly getting mauled.
A post on the blog site INC Reflections posted photos of the alleged clash at 36 Tandang Sora, where expelled INC members Angel Manalo and Lottie Manalo-Hemedez were staying.
''Unidentified men with high powered guns and faces covered with masks aggressively trespassed 36 T. Sora by using a backhoe to tear down the front gate and barricaded 36 T. Sora. These men were able to get inside, took away all cellphones with video recording capabilities,'' the blog post read.
''They used a sheriff to try take out all the remaining vehicles of the family of the late Bro. Eraño G. Manalo."
The incident happened after a local court recently ordered the estranged siblings of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo to leave the house.
The blog also quoted expelled INC member Lito Fruto as saying that the Manalo siblings' lawyer, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, was mauled when the allegedly armed men entered the property.
This was confirmed by Cruz-Angeles' co-counsel, Ahmedy Paglinawan, in his Facebook post.
''Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles, one female office staff and 2 other unarmed male companions were ganged upon by male guards of the INC while police officers from station 3 QC watched on.,'' Paglinawan said.
''The victims have already been pulled out and taken to East Avenue Medical Center for treatment and medico-legal check-up."
Paglinawan said Cruz-Angeles went to the property to respond to the request of the occupants for assistance after a ''truckload of policemen, masked INC guards and members of the Barangay massed outside the said address."
''Atty. Trixie and party were ganged upon by masked men as she approached the gate to ask for a copy of the court order which the attackers were purportedly attempting to serve."
INC: ONLY AFTER THE CARS
In a text message to ABS-CBN News, INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala said representatives from the INC, accompanied by a sheriff, only went to the property to recover ''cars still inside."
Zabala said the sheriff and INC representatives only went to the disputed property after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 96 granted INC's plea to recover cars inside the compound.
''As far as I know, the RTC handed the order to the sheriff and we cooperated with him. As for the other matter, I'm sure that Attorney Angeles knows the legal remedies available to someone claiming to be involved in such an accident,'' Zabala said.
Angel and Lottie were expelled from the church after claiming that their lives and that of their mother, Tenny, were under threat. They also claimed that some INC ministers were abducted.
This triggered the worst crisis for the 101-year-old church, with disgruntled ministers claiming they were abducted and that corruption was widespread within the church's hierarchy.