Infiltrators have already penetrated the ranks of protesting Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) members during a vigil called “EDSA 4” at the corner of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (formerly Highway 54) and Shaw Boulevard in Barangay Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City, an INC official said early Monday.
INC spokesman Edwil Zabala revealed this in an interview with DZRH News via Neil Ocampo’s “Arangkada Balita.” Zabala was in a hoarse voice when interviewed by Ocampo due to the rally which entered its fifth day on Monday.
“Hindi lang kami itinaboy (sa Padre Faura, Maynila) patungo rito sa EDSA. May mga tao na later on, napatunayang hindi kasapi ng INC na trinabaho kami (We driven away from Padre Faura in Manila. Later on, we learned that INC members in the protest rallies were infiltrated, gatecrashed by non-members),” Zabala lamented.
“Hindi namin ginusto na nandito kami pero meron kaming gustong iparating sa kinauukulan (we don’t want to be here but we want to deliver a message to the authorities),” Zabala said.
The INC spokesman also said text blasts and netizens on social media resorted to disinformation campaign to drive to many of the INC members traveling to the Department of Justice (DoJ) main office at Padre Faura, Malate, Manila to go elsewhere.
Zabala also alleged that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is already violating the separation of Church and State.
But an INC member who spoke on conditions of anonymity said DOJ is not addressing an internal Church matter.
“The DOJ is addressing laws of the land that have been violated and further investigations have deemed these issues under their jurisdiction. For many months now, the INC councilo has been claiming there is no evidence on their alleged corruption,” the INC member said.
Meanwhile, public utility buses (PUBs) and other vehicles took alternative routes to avoid traffic along the southbound lane of EDSA.
It took three hours for DZRH newswriter Jose Rafael Cesar C. Atencio to reach the office in Pasay City. He got on a bus to Baclaran, Pasay City at 2 a.m. in Novaliches, Quezon City but he and other passengers were stuck in a traffic starting at the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue due to the “EDSA 4” rally.
The bus rerouted and reached E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard in Cubao then managed to reach EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue in Mandaluyong City where vehicular flow on the southbound lane was totally immobilized.
So, the bus has to turn left at Ortigas Avenue left at Meralco Avenue, Pasig City and then found its way to C-5 also in Pasig City and reached Guadalupe, Makati City towards Baclaran.
Atencio reached the DZRH Newscenter at past 5 a.m., almost three hours of travel from Quezon City which normally takes one hour travel during early mornings especially before dawn.
DZRH reporter Edmar Estabillo said many commuters walked on portions of Edsa early as INC members continued their protest along the main thoroughfare from the corner of Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong to The Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Edsa) Shrine.
Estabillo said Philippine National Police (PNP) estimated the INC protesters’ number at 16,000 since 1 a.m. Elements of the Eastern Police District (EPD) Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) team kept an eye on the rallyists.
Last August 27, about 2,000 Iglesia members led by Zabala held a vigil outside the DOJ office until they moved to EDSA.
The INC members protested against DOJ for allegedly persecuting their church and called for upholding the separation of church and state. They also called for the agency to prioritize more important issues.
They were also protesting against the allegedly “extraordinary attention” given by de Lima to the serious illegal detention and grave coercion complaints filed against certain INC leaders by expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr.
INC leadership controversy is a dispute between senior members of Christian Sect which started July 2015 after the church has expelled some of its ministers, along with high-profile members Felix Nathaniel “Angel” and Cristina “Tenny” Manalo.
Angel is the brother of current INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo and Tenny is the mother of Eduardo, and widow of former Executive Minister Eraño Manalo.
Angel and Tenny were expelled from the INC for “sowing disunity” in the church. The INC administration released a statement claiming that Eduardo agreed to the expulsion of his brother and mother from the INC, as decided upon by its overall leadership.
However, both Angel and Tenny claimed their lives were threatened by the Iglesia’s administration.
Angel and Tenny are reportedly illegally detained at the Iglesia’s Central Office Complex in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, and at least ten ministers of the church are missing and alleged to have been abducted.
Former INC ministers Roel Rosal and Isaias Samson, Jr., claim the Sanggunián (the highest administrative council of the INC had unlawfully abducted and detained ministers, along with members of the Manalo family, in order to cover up corruption surrounding the Iglesia’s chief auditor, Glicerio “Jun” Santos, Jr.
On July 24, 2015, the Iglesia ni Cristo, represented by Glicerio B. Santos, IV, head counsel of the INC and son of Santos, Jr. filed a libel complaint against Samson. (Joel C. Atencio, Edmar Estabillo)