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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PARTY'S OVER, WHAT WAS THE INC-PALACE DEAL?
[Questions and conspiracy theories were in the air after an official of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) announced on Monday that the religious group is ending its protest at the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard intersection in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) after a “successful” holding of talks between the church’s leaders and government officials.]


SEPT 1 -PARTY’S OVER Flag-waiving members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo who joined the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard siege celebrate after their leaders announced an end to their protest. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago made the announcement over church-owned television channel Net 25. “Nais po naming ipabatid sa inyong lahat na nagkausap na po ang panig ng Iglesia at ang panig pamahalaan. At sa paguusap na ito ay nagkapaliwanagan na po ang dalawang panig. Kaya payapa na po ang lahat [We would like to tell you all that representatives of the Iglesia and the government have met and had clarified the issues. All is now well],” Santiago said. INC spokesman Edwil Zabala said he was not privy to what was discussed in the meeting between the government panel led by no less than President Benigno Aquino 3rd and a representative of the INC that was held Sunday evening until past midnight.Malacańang later in the day said there was no deal forged.“There was no deal struck, as some insinuate. The talks gave both sides an opportunity to clarify issues and concerns,” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said in a brief statement.Critics of the Aquino administration, however, did not take Valte’s statement hook, line and sinker.“The people are interested in the deal, if any, struck by the Aquino government and the influential INC in relation to the criminal case filed versus leaders of the group. Were there concessions given by Aquino to the INC? Did it involve Mar Roxas and the 2016 elections? What were the terms agreed upon? Government owes the public at least an explanation,” Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said in a statement. READ MORE...

ALSO: Iglesia claims big victory after end of 5-day protest
[“This is a message that INC is united. We will do whatever our leaders will tell us to do because we believe in them. If they will tell me to die for the Iglesia I will be more than willing to offer my life,” the member said.]


SEPT 1 -‘NOT SURRENDER’ Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo wave their hands during their short-lived rally in Davao City. PHOTO BY NICO ALCONABA
Thousands of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members, who occupied the streets outside the Hall of Justice and portions of the public bus terminal in Davao City, roared in celebration after it was announced that the protest action had been lifted. “It’s a big victory for us. We have shown the country that our faith is more powerful than politics and the government,” said a 45-year-old member from North Cotabato, who refused to be named. The member, who was raised by INC parents, said he and the others were told by their ministers to start packing up as early as 9 in the morning on Monday because the protests had been a success. An INC announcement ended Monday a five-day protest in Metro Manila and stopped delegations of INC members on hundreds of buses from various parts of Luzon from proceeding to the capital, averting a traffic gridlock on Edsa and helping ease growing tensions in the metropolis. Announcement on TV The announcement by INC general evangelist minister Bienvenido Santiago to end the protest was aired on the religious group’s INCTV and Net25 at 9 a.m. Monday. Also canceled were marches in Cebu and Davao cities scheduled at noon. “We wish to tell you all that Iglesia and the government have talked, and both sides have been enlightened. So everything is peaceful,” Santiago said. “This peaceful assembly that we mounted since Thursday afternoon is ending peacefully this Monday morning. Thanks be to God. To God be the glory. Long live Iglesia ni Cristo,” he added. The announcement came after Malacańang and INC officials reached some kind of understanding, details of which have yet to be disclosed to the public.  READ MORE...

ALSO: Deal or No Deal?
[INC ends rally after ‘agreement’; Palace denies report]


SEPT 2 -THE Iglesia ni Cristo ended five days of protest in which thousands of its members clogged portions of Edsa and surrounded the Justice Department, following a meeting between the INC and the government, a high-ranking church official said Monday.
“We’d like to inform all our brethren that both the Iglesia and the government have talked already and clarified things between us. All is well,” said INC General Evangelist Bienvenido Santiago in a video message shown to protesters at Edsa Shaw at 9 a.m. End of the rally. Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo cheer as they prepare to leave Shaw and Edsa, which they barricaded for four days to demand the ouster of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Lino Santos INC spokesman Edwin Zabala, in announcing the end of the protests, added that “the INC and the government have already reached an understanding” and that the directive came from Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo. After an emergency meeting Sunday night, the Palace denied that an agreement was reached to end the protests that began Thursday over a Justice Department decision to investigate harassment and illegal detention charges filed by an ousted minister against church leaders. “There was no deal struck as some insinuate,” presidential deputy spokeswoman Abigail Valte said shortly after the end of the protest. “The talks gave both sides an opportunity to clarify issues and concerns.” But the lawyer of expelled minister Isaias Samson appealed to the Palace to disclose what it had conceded to get the protests to end. “The fear now is that given the so-called agreement, a finding of ‘no probable cause’ to make this nightmare go away for the INC’s Sanggunian is a very real possibility,” said lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in a statement. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Quiet talks’ result in end of INC protest
[PALACE CLAIMS ONLY CLARIFICATIONS REACHED]


SEPT 1 -What did the Aquino administration promise the influential religious sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) which was good enough to convince its members to end a five-day protest action? The Palace and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said there was none and the “quiet talks” between the government and INC officials resulted only in some clarifications. Leaders of the INC protest action, however, claimed victory as a result of an ageement with the Aquino government although details of the deal was not provided. Just the same, the INC ended its five-day “peaceful assembly” along Edsa, sending home thousands of its members after negotiations were held between the INC leadership and the Aquino government. Bienvenido Santiago, INC general evangelist, announced through the public address sysem set up at Shaw Boulevard corner Edsa at around 8:20 a.m. that the “peaceful assembly” is ending after the INC leadership and the government had talked. “The side of Iglesia ni Cristo and the side of the government already talked and during the discussion there was clarification from both sides,” Santiago said in a broadcast message in Filipino.“That is why, all is at peace. Our peaceful assembly comes to an end with peace this Monday morning,” he added. Secretary Roxas confirmed “quiet talks” were held between the government and INC leadership. “During the past days, the government quietly communicated with the leaders of INC. This gave the two sides the opportunity to clarify issues,” Roxas said in a statement.It was not clear, however, what the Aquino government and the INC leadership had agreed upon to end the five-day rally.Roxas also admitted that there were some groups what wanted to exploit the gathering.“There were many who wanted to exploit the protest for their personal ends. It was important that all stayed calm to avoid anybody from being harmed if violence erupts,” Roxas said. The Daily Tribune reported on Monday that security authorities have become concerned over the attendance of politicians in the INC rally on Saturday.Among those sighted were President Aquino’s uncle former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and his wife former Tarlac Gov. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, and Pastor Boy Saycon. Thousands of INC members started massing up Thursday, initially at the Department of Justice (DoJ) office in Manila as they called for the resignation of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. READ MORE...ALSO RELATED FRANCISCO TATAD COLUMN

ALSO Expelled minister: INC execs use members as shield


SEPT 1 -Members of the religious sect Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) shout slogans during a protest against the Justice Department, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 in the suburban Mandaluyong city east of Manila, Philippines. The sect members, who earlier camped out for two days in Manila, are accusing Justice Secretary Leila De Lima of harassing the congregation by ordering an investigation into what it said false allegations by its expelled members. AP/Bullit Marquez
An expelled minister of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Tuesday claimed that the sect's Sanggunian, or council, is using its members as "shields."
In a telephone interview with ANC's Headstart, Isaias Samson Jr. said that he is not sure if he is open to meeting with the Sanggunian. "I know who they are, what they can do and they will do just to protect themselves... In the past days they have lied to people, they used the name of Bro. Eduardo Manalo in order to make the members of the church follow them and they even made the members of the church to shield them," Samson said. The expelled minister added that the Sanggunian sent two of its members to the United States to talk with some of the INC's members who supposedly have grievances against alleged corruption in the sect. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: On Target - And we thought she was intelligent


SEPT 1 -The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ended its three-day protest on Edsa yesterday after it was reportedly appeased by Malacańang.
The INC called it a victory but the government of President BS (Benigno Simeon) Aquino, aka Noynoy, did not want to reveal what concession/s it gave to the religious sect. If P-Noynoy did indeed bend over backwards at the expense of the rule of law, what a shame. That would really make him a weakling. * * * The protest was aimed at forcing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to resign for acting on the complaint of serious illegal detention filed by a former INC minister, Isaias Samson, against the church’s top officials. The INC leadership had said that the issue was an internal matter and invoked the separation of church and state. The INC is twisting the principle of separation of church and state. De Lima was not attacking the church but upholding the rule of law when she ordered the investigation of some of its officials for allegedly violating another person’s liberty, a grievous offense. Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, a bar topnotcher, was right when he said that De Lima’s action was not against the INC but against individuals within the religious group. * * * De Lima’s action was commendable because she had everything to lose for incurring the ire of the church whose members vote as a bloc during elections. You see, the justice secretary is a possible senatorial candidate in 2016 and it looks like she has just lost a big chunk of the voting population. But the majority of Filipino voters should back De Lima, a bar topnotcher like Koko Pimentel, and send her to the Senate. We need a principled woman in that august body. * * * A principled woman Sen. Grace Poe definitely is not, judging from her recent behavior. Poe, a potential presidential candidate, was pandering to the spoiled brat behavior of the INC. “For me, those people are defending their faith. We respect the fact that they also have to protect their rights,” she told reporters. What did Poe mean when she said INC members were “defending their faith” and “(protecting) their rights”? It’s as if De Lima was persecuting INC members like what the Romans did to the early Christians. No, Ms. Poe (aka Mrs. Llamanzares), there is nothing of that sort or even close to it. Many people thought you were intelligent, Madame Senator. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

What was the deal?


PARTY’S OVER Flag-waiving members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo who joined the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard siege celebrate after their leaders announced an end to their protest. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2015, (MANILA TIMES) September 1, 2015 - by JOEL M. SY EGCO, SENIOR REPORTER ANTHONY VARGAS, CORRESPONDENT AND FERNAN MARASIGAN, REPORTER - Questions and conspiracy theories were in the air after an official of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) announced on Monday that the religious group is ending its protest at the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard intersection in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) after a “successful” holding of talks between the church’s leaders and government officials.


Bienvenido Santiago, general minister of the indigenous religious organization Iglesia ni Cristo, earlier speaks at a press conference.

INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago made the following announcement over church-owned television channel Net 25.

“Nais po naming ipabatid sa inyong lahat na nagkausap na po ang panig ng Iglesia at ang panig pamahalaan. At sa pag-uusap na ito ay nagkapaliwanagan na po ang dalawang panig. Kaya payapa na po ang lahat [We would like to tell you all that representatives of the Iglesia and the government have met and had clarified the issues. All is now well],” Santiago said.

INC spokesman Edwil Zabala said he was not privy to what was discussed in the meeting between the government panel led by no less than President Benigno Aquino 3rd and a representative of the INC that was held Sunday evening until past midnight.

Malacańang later in the day said there was no deal forged.

“There was no deal struck, as some insinuate. The talks gave both sides an opportunity to clarify issues and concerns,” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said in a brief statement.

Critics of the Aquino administration, however, did not take Valte’s statement hook, line and sinker.

“The people are interested in the deal, if any, struck by the Aquino government and the influential INC in relation to the criminal case filed versus leaders of the group. Were there concessions given by Aquino to the INC? Did it involve Mar Roxas and the 2016 elections?

What were the terms agreed upon? Government owes the public at least an explanation,” Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said in a statement.

READ MORE...


LACIERDA

Mar is Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, the ruling Liberal Party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 elections.

Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda issued a separate statement on the matter, hinting that a “long-term solution” and “goodwill” have caused the INC members who gathered on EDSA to voluntarily disperse.

“This was an important consideration for the government: Just as it was important to protect the rights of all, ensure public safety, and minimize opportunities for sowing mayhem, we knew that a truly long-term solution involved engendering an atmosphere of dialogue, which will result in deescalating the situation that created tensions in the first place,” the Palace official said.

Lacierda added that the national government had to step in to immediately defuse tensions because some sectors have started to manipulate the situation.

“We were resolved not to inflame passions, which could have given an opening to those with selfish agendas to further exacerbate conflict. Diplomacy therefore was an important tool in avoiding unintended consequences,” he explained.

Lacierda said the conflict was resolved “through goodwill and the convergence of efforts.”

“The rule of law has been upheld. We appreciate the INC leadership’s directives for the withdrawal of their members from their gathering sites. We are thankful that no serious injuries came about these past few days, and that the public can now prepare to go to work and to school tomorrow as the long weekend draws to a close,” he added.


PHOTO OF
Suspended INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. details his “house arrest” under the INC Sanggunian in a hastily-called press conference in Manila after he and his family escaped. TARRA QUISMUNDO/ INQUIRER

Lawyers for expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr., who had filed illegal detention charges against the members of the INC Sanggunian (Council of Leaders), called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd as well as Roxas to disclose to the public the deal forged with the INC.

In a statement, lawyers Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan asked about the nature of the alleged agreement, and why their client, “who had unintentionally set off these events by filing his case,” was not included in it.

“Tell us whether or not you’ve sold our client down the river… you need to disclose this to us. A criminal case is not a political pawn,” they said.

The lawyers also asked the government to “guarantee our client a fair hearing at preliminary investigation,” saying that finding the case filed by Samson to have no probable cause is now “a very real possibility.”

They said the announcement made the INC on the matter is a way for them “to make the public feel that they had flexed their muscle and the government has responded in a manner favorable to them.”

Malacanang was mum on whether such a deal involved either the dropping of charges against the INC ministers or the group supporting Roxas, the administration party’s presidential bet in next year’s polls.


INC PROTEST VS DE LIMA IN FRONT OF DOJ BUILDING

Aquino convened senior officials, including some members of the Cabinet, police and military officials, in an emergency meeting at the President’s official residence in Malacańang Park on Sunday night and met with an INC representative, Erano “Erdz” Codera, the church’s political liaison officer.

Also in the meeting were Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and National Police Director-General Ricardo Marquez.

INC members initially massed up in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ) compound along Padre Faura Street (Manila) last Thursday and held an overnight vigil. They were protesting the state’s alleged meddling in the church’s internal affairs when de Lima ordered an investigation of the alleged kidnapping and detention of Samson.

On Friday night, the protesters marched to EDSA-Shaw Boulevard intersection and linked up with groups that assembled in staging areas at SM Megamall and Our Lady of EDSA Shrine.

The protesters were reinforced by other church members who were bused in from nearby provinces.

The protest caused a massive traffic jam that has angered motorists and commuters and triggered verbal skirmishes in the social media.

Police estimated the crowd to have swelled to over 15,000 before President Aquino called the meeting.

Roxas said there were people who wanted to take advantage of the INC protest for their personal motives.

Roxas in a statement indicated that sobriety prevailed and prevented anybody from getting hurt.

Military officials heaved a sigh of relief that the INC rally did not swell because if it did, some “opportunists” could have taken advantage of the situation and create a violent scenario like detonating a bom.

“Sa amin naman kasi, yun ang cause of apprehension lang naming. Baka may mga taong gustong mag-take advantage ng situation. Na kasi would you imagine kung may nagpasabog dun e di sakit ng ulo namin dun [On our part, that is the cause of apprehension. Some people may take advantage of the situation. Just imagine if someone lobbed explosives on the crowd, it would be a big headache for us],” said a military officer who was among those assigned to “infiltrate” the crowd.

While the military, he said, has not received any information on terrorists or the Left sabotaging the rally, he made it sure that any terror attack would not be carried out.

“That’s what we want to contain. Remember the Plaza Miranda bombing. If similar situation occurred [in the rally], the government will always be the one to be blamed. What we were trying to prevent is that the peaceful rally would turn violent,” he pointed out.

Another military official described the rally as a “defense mechanism” of the INC because it was afraid of the implication of the serious illegal detention charges against its leaders.

Poe dragged

Pre-election survey frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe was dragged into the INC controversy after Samson’s lawyers said she might have violated the law when she urged the Justice department to just focus on other cases, instead of on the criminal complaints filed against officials and members of the INC.

Poe had said the department should give attention to other cases like the Mamasapano incident.

Lawyer Trixie Angeles said Poe’s statement last Friday could constitute a criminal offense under Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Poe’s chief-of-staff immediately issued a statement to counter the allegation.
“Sen. Poe did not persuade, induce or influence Secretary de Lima to commit any violation of the law,” Nelson Victorino said in a statement.

“In her statements, she did not even suggest that Secretary de Lima stop the investigation of the complaint against INC personalities,” he added.

“It is an act of graft if someone asks the [Justice department] not to act on a criminal complaint,” Angeles said in a statement.

She cited Section 3 (a) of the law that considers as a crime any act of “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.”

Angeles said instead of asking the Department of Justice to make a priority other cases over the INC complaints, Poe should have called for respect for the rule of law and legal processes.


INQUIRER

Iglesia claims big victory after end of 5-day protest
@inquirerdotnet Inquirer Bureaus 02:24 AM September 1st, 2015


‘NOT SURRENDER’ Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo wave their hands during their short-lived rally in Davao City. PHOTO BY NICO ALCONABA

Thousands of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members, who occupied the streets outside the Hall of Justice and portions of the public bus terminal in Davao City, roared in celebration after it was announced that the protest action had been lifted.

“It’s a big victory for us. We have shown the country that our faith is more powerful than politics and the government,” said a 45-year-old member from North Cotabato, who refused to be named.

The member, who was raised by INC parents, said he and the others were told by their ministers to start packing up as early as 9 in the morning on Monday because the protests had been a success.

An INC announcement ended Monday a five-day protest in Metro Manila and stopped delegations of INC members on hundreds of buses from various parts of Luzon from proceeding to the capital, averting a traffic gridlock on Edsa and helping ease growing tensions in the metropolis.

Announcement on TV

The announcement by INC general evangelist minister Bienvenido Santiago to end the protest was aired on the religious group’s INCTV and Net25 at 9 a.m. Monday. Also canceled were marches in Cebu and Davao cities scheduled at noon.

“We wish to tell you all that Iglesia and the government have talked, and both sides have been enlightened. So everything is peaceful,” Santiago said.

“This peaceful assembly that we mounted since Thursday afternoon is ending peacefully this Monday morning. Thanks be to God. To God be the glory. Long live Iglesia ni Cristo,” he added.

The announcement came after Malacańang and INC officials reached some kind of understanding, details of which have yet to be disclosed to the public.

READ MORE...

The sect mounted the protest over what it called undue attention by the Department of Justice to an illegal detention case that an expelled minister filed against INC council members.

The rally crowd, which began to amass on Edsa on Friday night, peaked at 20,000 early Monday from 1 to 2 a.m. On Sunday, the crowd spilled over the permitted rally zone on the Edsa-Shaw crossing in Mandaluyong City, reaching the intersection of Edsa and Ortigas Avenue as well as the flyover and underpass on the Edsa-Shaw intersection, paralyzing traffic on Edsa for hours.

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos said his decision to allow the protesters to stay at Edsa-Crossing beyond the time stated in the permit was not a special accommodation but was granted for “humanitarian reasons.”

Despite the public outcry against inconveniences caused by the rally over the weekend, the Philippine National Police considered it peaceful.

Celebration

When the news came about the cancellation of the protests, members of the group at an INC compound in Cebu City shouted in celebration, and considered it a victory for the church.

Some INC members raised their right hands, while others waved INC flags and shouted “Mabuhay ang INC.”

Romel Pańares, a minister designated as spokesperson for the activity in Cebu province, said those who were still on their way were told about the cancellation of the activity and were advised to return to their homes.

Pańares said INC members welcomed the news and expressed happiness at the peaceful resolution.

With Santiago’s announcement, a number of INC members who went to Cebu City decided to go to the mall or to renew acquaintances and to make new friends.

While some started leaving the church, others remained behind as they made plans on what to do with the free time created by the cancellation of the activity.

INC members from Pangasinan province began their long trip back home on Monday following the announcement.

“We are tired but happy. At least we were able to show our support for our church. We are stronger now,” said ťan INC member from Sta. Barbara town, who asked not to identified.

But a former Pangasinan town councilor, who was in Metro Manila on Monday morning, said droves of INC members had been arriving in a shopping mall on Edsa.

“I suspect they are from [northern Luzon] as many are Ilocano-speaking. They are going inside the mall but I overheard someone instructing them to be in their vehicles at noon,” the former councilor said in a text message.

He said INC members appeared to have just arrived in Metro Manila and may have only heard about the INC announcement on their way to the capital.

Travel, food expenses

The INC member from Sta. Barbara said members traveled by batches to Metro Manila starting on Thursday. She said her batch left her town at 7 p.m. on Sunday and proceeded to the Edsa-Shaw area, where most of the INC members had massed up. She said the church shouldered the travel and food expenses.

“It’s as if we went there to watch a concert,”ťshe said.

But another INC member from Dagupan City said what was important was that they were able to show their faith and stand as true children of God. “I joined them in our fight for out faith. We are moving as one body,”ť he said.

On Sunday, an INC official said members either traveled to Metro Manila using their own vehicles or through rented vans and buses.

Another INC official in Pangasinan said church members were ready to mass up in front of the offices of the DOJ in Manila and ABS-CBN television station in Quezon City, had the protest continued on Monday.

The official said the group from Pangasinan would have stayed in Metro Manila until 1 p.m. Monday as the bus hired by the church was good for only 24 hours. The bus, where the church official and her family boarded, left the capital Lingayen town at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Pangasinan is divided into three INC ecclesiastical districts, with an estimated 100,000 members in 2010, according to the Philippine Statistical Authority.

In Central Luzon, Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, regional police director, said around 3,000 INC members from the region left for Metro Manila on Sunday night. They left in batches of about 200, riding buses and jeepneys, identified by INC flags.

Visayas

By boat they came from Bohol, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental provinces and by bus, truck, jeepney and private vehicle from other parts of Cebu province to converge in Cebu City.

Their counterparts in Mindanao, who came by buses and other modes of transportation, gathered in Davao City.

At least 10,000 INC members in the Visayas had converged in Cebu City since Sunday evening for the rally scheduled for Monday noon.

The contingents came from the different towns and cities of Cebu, Bohol, Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental; and San Carlos and Bacolod City in

Negros Occidental.

The INC members were told to gather at the INC church on General Maxilom Avenue at 9 a.m. They were supposed to march on Plaza Indepedencia at noon.

The bulk of the members came in buses, trucks, passenger jeepneys and private vehicles from all over Cebu, and from Negros Island while those from Bohol came by fast watercraft and slow boats.

They prepared to start marching, holding INC flags and flaglets, placards bearing signs similar to those seen at the protest rallies at Padre Faura in Manila and on Edsa in Mandaluyong City.

At 9 a.m. Monday, Cebu City Fire Marshall Rogelio Bongabong, an INC member, estimated the crowd at the compound of the church to have reached 5,000. The figure could be higher because several contingents were still arriving at that time.

The rest of the expected 20,000 members were still on their way to Cebu City.

Plaza Indepedencia

Separate contingents went directly to Plaza Indepedencia. They started arriving on Sunday night, according to Cebu City traffic enforcer Renato Generoso.

They slept on the bench and under the trees at the historic plaza. Generoso estimated the crowd at the plaza at more than 1,000.

Joy Tumulak, Cebu City Traffic Office executive officer, said there was traffic congestion on General Maxilom Avenue because of the huge crowd that left and arrived at the INC compound.

At Plaza Independencia, Charito Dumay, 55, and Adelaida Onde, 57, from Clarin, Bohol, said, they were part of the contingent from Tubigon, Bohol.

There were also contingents from Candijay, Bohol, at Plaza Indepedencia.

The INC members from San Carlos and Bacolod cities said they were provided with food when they arrived in Cebu City. They said all the expenses were shouldered by the church.

An INC member from the City of San Carlos said he and the others would take advantage of the cancellation of the rally. “We will go home later tonight. We would like to go around the city first,” he said laughing.

INC minister Ronilo Riego, who traveled from the town of Alubijid in Misamis Oriental to Davao City, said: “…(W)e are very happy because we were able to convey to the government our message. We do not want to cause any disturbance as long as the government will not [interfere] with our religious freedom.”ť

An elderly couple who traveled from Wao, Lanao del Sur province, sat on the back of a truck and were were smiling after the announcement that the protest action had been lifted.

Asked what their gains were, the couple just looked at each other and said: “We finally have justice now. That is what we were told.”

Ready to die for INC

Another member from General Santos City was shouting with joy and was waving a flag.

“This is a message that INC is united. We will do whatever our leaders will tell us to do because we believe in them. If they will tell me to die for the Iglesia I will be more than willing to offer my life,” the member said.—Gabriel Cardinoza and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon; Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas; Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao; Jaymee T. Gamil and Jovic Yee in Manila


MANILA STANDARD

Deal or No Deal? By John Paolo Bencito, Sandy Araneta, Rio N. Araja and Rey E. Requejo | Sep. 01, 2015 at 12:01am

INC ends rally after ‘agreement’; Palace denies report

THE Iglesia ni Cristo ended five days of protest in which thousands of its members clogged portions of Edsa and surrounded the Justice Department, following a meeting between the INC and the government, a high-ranking church official said Monday.

“We’d like to inform all our brethren that both the Iglesia and the government have talked already and clarified things between us. All is well,” said INC General Evangelist Bienvenido Santiago in a video message shown to protesters at Edsa Shaw at 9 a.m.

End of the rally. Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo cheer as they prepare to leave Shaw and Edsa, which they barricaded for four days to demand the ouster of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Lino Santos INC spokesman Edwin Zabala, in announcing the end of the protests, added that “the INC and the government have already reached an understanding” and that the directive came from Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.

After an emergency meeting Sunday night, the Palace denied that an agreement was reached to end the protests that began Thursday over a Justice Department decision to investigate harassment and illegal detention charges filed by an ousted minister against church leaders.

“There was no deal struck as some insinuate,” presidential deputy spokeswoman Abigail Valte said shortly after the end of the protest. “The talks gave both sides an opportunity to clarify issues and concerns.”

But the lawyer of expelled minister Isaias Samson appealed to the Palace to disclose what it had conceded to get the protests to end.

“The fear now is that given the so-called agreement, a finding of ‘no probable cause’ to make this nightmare go away for the INC’s Sanggunian is a very real possibility,” said lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in a statement.

READ MORE... 

“Their leaders have cited an agreement with government. What is the nature of this agreement? What are its conditions and terms? It is our client who had unintentionally set off these events by filing his case, yet somehow we have not been included in this so-called agreement. Assuming of course there is one,” she said.

“It is not accidental that the leaders [who are also respondents in Samson’s case for illegal detention] have been very vocal about this so-called agreement. The idea is to make the public feel that they had flexed their muscles and the government has responded in a manner favorable to them. The idea is to make us feel that in relation to whatever it is they were rallying for [or against], the government has capitulated. And sadly that capitulation may involve trampling on the rights of our client,” Angeles said.

Former Akbayan party-list lawmaker Walden Bello, who broke with the administration in March, also urged the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to reveal the details of its arrangement with the INC.

“What has the government said to the INC to be able to convince the latter to end its protestations?” Bello asked at a press conference.

Bello also blasted the government’s handling of the INC protest.

“Is the national government so weak that they cannot ensure public interest and safety?” Bello told The Standard. “I think there’s a very bad precedent where the INC expressed their intention of paralyzing traffic [and]… create public disorder, but the state did not move because it was afraid of them.”

Bello also tore into the Liberal Party candidate for president next year, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, for showing “no integrity.”

“Despite his being on top of law enforcement… he allowed Edsa to be paralyzed for four days,” Bello said, noting that Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe—who are all likely to run for president next year—all did the same thing, claiming religious freedom.

“These people on top will lead our country to chaos. The political elite are all bowing to the INC leadership. Roxas allowed the petulant action of a minority to override the rights of the vast majority.”

Bello said for the religious group to invoke the separation of church and state was a “misrepresentation” and that the INC was in effect getting special treatment.

“The INC leadership has the country by the throat,” he said.

Angeles urged Aquino and Roxas to be transparent.

“Tell us whether or not you’ve sold our client down the river or tell us if you haven’t. But you need to disclose this to us. A criminal case is not a political pawn. The law provides that it cannot be compromised. The President can grant pardons and issue clemency and amnesty. But you do not have the power to refuse prosecution,” she said.

Angeles also urged the government to guarantee her client a fair hearing at the preliminary investigation at the Justice Department.

She said the reported meeting between the two sides, hidden from the public eye, aroused suspicion.

Samson’s complaint named as respondents members of the Sanggunian, the INC’s highest administrative council—Glicero Santos Jr., Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago Sr., Mathusalem Pareja, Rolando Esguerra, Erańo Codera, Rodelio Cabrerra and Maximo Bularan.

Samson and his family alleged that they were prohibited from leaving their house in Quezon City last July after he was accused of being “Antonio Ebanghelista,” the blogger who had been writing against INC.

Samson Jr., former editor-in-chief of INC’s official publication Pasugo, denied the allegation.

Samson also claimed that their relatives were prohibited from visiting them, and that they were not allowed to go to a doctor so his wife, who is suffering from high blood pressure and has a pacemaker, could get a checkup.

He recalled that guards along with other men armed with high-caliber rifles, had constantly prohibited his wife and son from buying groceries or even leaving our house.

He said they escaped after they pretended to attend worship service.

On Monday morning, soon after the decision by the INC leadership was reached, crowds reaching from Edsa Crossing at Shaw all the way to Robinsons Galleria in Quezon City quickly disappeared—leaving heaps of trash collected by wards from the Mandaluyong City government and SCAN, the INC security force.

Traffic returned to normal at 11 a.m.

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos had granted the INC an extension of its permit to rally Sunday night, citing “humanitarian reasons.”

While Valte denied that a deal had been struck, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the end of the four-day protest showed the importance of diplomacy “in avoiding unintended consequences.”

Through good will and the convergence of efforts, the rule of law has been upheld, Lacierda said.

“We appreciate the INC leadership’s directives for the withdrawal of their members from their gathering sites,” Lacierda said.

On Sunday night, President Aquino held a crisis meeting with his Cabinet to discuss the INC protest.

Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III posted several pictures of the meeting on his Twitter account Sunday night.

The meeting with the President last night started around 8:30 p.m. and ended a little past midnight Monday morning.

At the meeting were:

Mar Roxas,
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad,
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin,
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Lacierda,
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman,
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa,
National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia,
Political Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas,
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, as well as Quezon, Valte, Philippine National Police Chief Ricardo Marquez, and
Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri.

Roxas explained in his Twitter account that they discussed the INC protest during the meeting but did not offer any details.

The government has come under fire for allowing the INC to paralyze a large portion of Edsa for four days.

At least 4,000 INC members trooped to the DoJ complex on Thursday to demand De Lima’s resignation over her decision to investigate Samson’s complaint against church officials.

Protesters then moved to the Edsa Shrine on Ortigas Avenue, bringing northbound and southbound traffic on Edsa to a standstill. With Sara Susanne D. Fabunan


TRIBUNE

‘Quiet talks’ result in end of INC protest By Mario J. Mallari and Ted Tuvera Tribune Wires Tuesday, 01 September 2015 00:00



PALACE CLAIMS ONLY CLARIFICATIONS REACHED

What did the Aquino administration promise the influential religious sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) which was good enough to convince its members to end a five-day protest action?

The Palace and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said there was none and the “quiet talks” between the government and INC officials resulted only in some clarifications.

Leaders of the INC protest action, however, claimed victory as a result of an ageement with the Aquino government although details of the deal was not provided.

Just the same, the INC ended its five-day “peaceful assembly” along Edsa, sending home thousands of its members after negotiations were held between the INC leadership and the Aquino government.

Bienvenido Santiago, INC general evangelist, announced through the public address sysem set up at Shaw Boulevard corner Edsa at around 8:20 a.m. that the “peaceful assembly” is ending after the INC leadership and the government had talked.

“The side of Iglesia ni Cristo and the side of the government already talked and during the discussion there was clarification from both sides,” Santiago said in a broadcast message in Filipino.

“That is why, all is at peace. Our peaceful assembly comes to an end with peace this Monday morning,” he added.

Secretary Roxas confirmed “quiet talks” were held between the government and INC leadership.

“During the past days, the government quietly communicated with the leaders of INC. This gave the two sides the opportunity to clarify issues,” Roxas said in a statement.

It was not clear, however, what the Aquino government and the INC leadership had agreed upon to end the five-day rally.

Roxas also admitted that there were some groups what wanted to exploit the gathering.

“There were many who wanted to exploit the protest for their personal ends. It was important that all stayed calm to avoid anybody from being harmed if violence erupts,” Roxas said.

The Daily Tribune reported on Monday that security authorities have become concerned over the attendance of politicians in the INC rally on Saturday.

Among those sighted were President Aquino’s uncle former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and his wife former Tarlac Gov. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, and Pastor Boy Saycon.

Thousands of INC members started massing up Thursday, initially at the Department of Justice (DoJ) office in Manila as they called for the resignation of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

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The INC leadership scored De Lima for allegedly giving special attention to the complaint filed by expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. against some members of the INC Sanggunian for alleged serious illegal detention.

On the other hand, the INC said de Lima has not acted the same on the massacre of 44 Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 during the launching of Operation Plan “Exodus.”

Two of the slain SAF operatives were INC members. The local government of Mandaluyong City granted the INC a permit to hold rally until Sunday night. It was not known if the local government issued an extension up to yesterday.

Relatedly, the Philippine National Police (PNP) maintained there was no special treatment extended to the INC during the five-day rally.

The PNP said that the INC crowd peaked early morning yesterday at an estimated 20,000 persons.

Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said that the INC rally was general peaceful.

Meeting at Bahay Pangarap

Probably alarmed with the growing number of participants in the INC protest prior to yesterday morning’s self-dispersal, Aquino held an emergency meeting with senior Cabinet officials, police officials and military heads to tackle options on “how to best deal with the situation.”

According to a source, a Cabinet Secretary has been in talks with INC representatives and their discussions were part of the agenda during Sunday night’s meeting at Bahay Pangarap, the President’s official residence in Malacańang.

INC’s representative in the talks is its political liaison officer, Erańo Codera, the source told The Tribune.

Among those in the closed-door meeting, which started at 8 pm and ended past 1 am, Monday, Aug. 31, were Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Justice Secretary de Lima, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas and other police officials.

The sense is that “this could be settled amicably,” Roxas reportedly said during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Police officers manning the protest area says that generally it was a peaceful movement throughout the rally, aside from the fact that it inconvenienced motorists and commuters who had to endure hours of traffic because the event clogged up the major thoroughfare. The Iglesia apolized for the inconvenience its nationwide rallies caused.

“It was generally peaceful. Nobody got harmed and no serious crime happened except for an isolated complain of an act of lasciviousness last night,” Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo of the Mandaluyong Police Department told the Tribune.

According to the Eastern Police District, about 20 to 25 thousand protesters were present at its peak.

Also, with less than an hour before its rally permit in Mandaluyong City expired, the INC on Sunday, Aug, 30, was granted permission to continue its protest past the midnight deadline.

Addressing the crowd gathered at the intersection of Edsa and Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos said the thousands of INC members gathered there could spend the night, in effect extending the rally permit granted to the group “for humanitarian reasons.”

“I hope you understand. This place is Edsa, the main artery of Metro Manila,” Abalos told rallyists.

On Saturday, the influential church was granted a permit to stay at Edsa Shaw until Sunday midnight.

Reveal Palace deal

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr, was not convinced by the explanation of Lacierda, raising the possibility that the 2016 elections may have been central to the Palace’s bargaining with the INC.

Reyes asked whether Roxas, the Liberal Party (LP) and administration standard bearer, and his presidential bid was discussed, as the INC is known to deliver a bloc vote, estimated to be at a million votes, during polls.

“The people are interested in the deal, if any, struck by the Aquino government and the influential INC in relation to the criminal case filed vs leaders of the group. Were there concessions given by Aquino to the INC? Did it involve Mar Roxas and the 2016 elections?” he said.

The militant leader rejected Lacierda’s claims, saying that it is not acceptable that the Palace is merely skirting the issue without providing specifics on what was penned in the so-called agreement with the INC.

“What were the terms agreed upon? What was the important consideration that Lacierda was talking about, really? Government owes the public an honest explanation. Lacierda’s statement, seemingly implying that all’s well that ends well is not acceptable,” Reyes said.

Samson, the source of the complaint filed with De Lima, has expressed fears on the outcome of the criminal charges he and his family filed before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against leaders of the INC.

INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago earlier confirmed they have an “agreement” with the government and decided to conclude their four-day protest rally from Padre Faura St. in Manila to Edsa Shaw.

“The fear now is that given the so-called agreement, a finding of “no probable cause” to make this nightmare go away for the INC’s Sanggunian is a very real possibility,” Samson’s lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement yesterday.

Angeles said there is a need for the government to clarify the supposed agreement.

“Their leaders have cited an ‘agreement’ with government. What is the nature of this agreement? What are its conditions and terms? It is our client who had unintentionally set off these events by filing his case, yet somehow we have not been included in this so-called agreement. Assuming of course there is one,” she asked.

“It is not accidental that the leaders (who are also respondents in Samson’s case for illegal detention) have been very vocal about this so-called agreement. The idea is to make the public feel that they had flexed their muscle and the government has responded in a manner favorable to them. The idea is to make us feel that in relation to whatever it is they were rallying for (or against), the government has capitulated. And sadly that capitulation may involve trampling on the rights of our client,” the lawyer alleged.

Angeles appealed to President Aquino and Secretary Roxas to be transparent.
“Tell us whether or not you’ve sold our client down the river or tell us if you haven’t. But you need to disclose this to us. A criminal case is not a political pawn. The law provides that it cannot be compromised. The president can grant pardons and issue clemency and amnesty. But you do not have the power to refuse prosecution,” she stressed.

Angeles also urged the government to “guarantee our client a fair hearing at preliminary investigation in the DoJ.”She believes that the reported meeting between the government and the DoJ - being hidden from the public eye - could inevitably be “subject to a very real, very reasonable suspicion.”

The DoJ has not formally started the PI on the complaint for serious illegal detention, harassment, grave threats and coercion filed by Samson, his wife Myrna Dionela and son Isaias Jr. last week.

“The case has not yet been assigned to investigating prosecutors,” Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said in a text message, citing the non-working holiday yesterday.

The complaint of the Samson family named as respondents members of the Sanggunian, the INC’s highest administrative council - Atty. Glicero Santos Jr., Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago Sr., Mathusalem Pareja, Rolando Esguerra, Erańo Codera, Rodelio Cabrerra and Maximo Bularan.

The complainants alleged that they were prohibited from leaving their house in Quezon City last July after he was accused of being “Antonio Ebanghelista,” the blogger who have been writing against INC.

Samson Jr., former editor in chief of INC’s official publication Pasugo denied the allegation.

“Since I really was and still am not the person they are accusing me to be, I simply but carefully evaded their ridiculous questions. After an hour of not getting any favorable answer from me, they shifted to a more stringent, threatening and ultimately wildly aggressive mode of interrogation. The whole affair felt very surreal to me; and the feeling of fear and anxiety made me think that I was experiencing what it would have been like to be the subject of Torquemada’s Inquisition,” he alleged in the complaint.

“Little by little, it became clear to me that the Sanggunian was hell-bent at pinning the great exposé on me. True enough, in a bid to extract more information which they thought they could use to substantiate their specious allegations, they subsequently confiscated my phone and my office desktop computer,” he added.

Samson further claimed that their relatives were prohibited from visiting them, they were not allowed to go to a doctor so his wife who is suffering from high blood pressure and has a pacemaker can be checked up and someone was sent to buy groceries for them.

He recalled that “guards along with other men armed with high-caliber rifles, had constantly prohibited my wife and son from buying groceries or even leaving our house.”

He said they escaped after they pretended to attend worship service.
On July 23, he said when he called for a press conference, a certain Col. Pedroso and some policemen came and said they will secure and protect him but the policemen ran away after members of the media tried to approach them.

Last July 30, complainants said they received news that the Sanggunian ordered the forcible opening of their house and search and seize all their belongings.

De Lima, who is being targeted by the INC protest over the supposed “shortcut” and unfair handling of the charges, has remained mum on the issue.

After saying she was just doing her job and had no other motive other than faithful performance of her sworn duties last Thursday, the DoJ chief has since remained silent.

A separate complaint against Santos and other INC officials was filed earlier by expelled INC member Jose Fruto, the 50-year-old Filipino-American doctor who was arrested last month for a rape case in Caloocan City after admitting that he was one of the bloggers who has been attacking the INC leadership that led to his expulsion from the church.

Fruto said his troubles with the INC started when he answered a post of Lottie in Facebook asking for help because there are vehicles following her brother Angel.

He alleged that there are powerful people behind executive minister Eduardo Manalo who are actually running the affairs of the church.Manalo, the current head of the INC administration, was not impleaded in both cases. Joshua L. Labonera, Benjamin B. Pulta

5 comments
Jorge
Tulad ng napakaraming mga tao sa malaking perwisyo na dinulot ng ilang araw ng protesta ng INC, ako ay nadismaya na kung puwede lang ay gusto kong sunuggin ng buhay si Manalo. Pero isang bagay ang naging basehan ng kanilang protesta. Iyon ay Mamasapano Massacre. Nanganko ang DOJ na sasampahan nila ng kaso ang mga pumatay sa 44 na SAF. Alam na ni De Lima ang mga pangalan. Pero imbes na ang mga MILF ang denemanda, ang mga taga PNP ang inuna dahil daw sa kapalpakan ng kanilang trabaho na sanhi ng pagkamatay ng 44 na Pulis. Di lang iyan. Natigil sa tatlong senador ang kaso sa PDAF. Nasaan ang mga kasunod lalo na ang mga sangkot na tauhan ni Aquino?

Jorge Monday, 31 August 2015 22:10 Comment Link
Peter
Quiet talks or secret talks ?

Peter Monday, 31 August 2015 17:54 Comment Link
romeyao
"That is why there is peace". Does this Santiago insinuating that they are by their riotous rally, the INC is at war? Now the truth is coming out. They wanted to foment revolution, sedition and rebellion. The Aquino administration fearful that in fact INC would wage war, entered into an agreement (in return for what?) which if everyone knows this administration is capable of, would have again another "palpak" decision made to the detriment of the Filipinos. Ganyan siguro ang nangyari kaya ipinagbubunyi nang IC na panalo sila. PANALA NANG ALIN/ Natakot si Aquino sa inyong mga bbanta at pananakot? Sabagay takutin yan at maraming nagsasabi walang ba.... g and adminsitration ito.

romeyao Monday, 31 August 2015 17:27 Comment Link
Tagapagmasid
I am baffled why Mar Roxas participated in the closed door meeting? In what capacity did he join? I thought, he resigned from his Cabinet position since he was anointed by PNoy as his political heir?

Tagapagmasid Monday, 31 August 2015 16:54 Comment Link
Jorge
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES DEMAND WHAT THE AGREEMENT WAS?

Jorge Monday, 31 August 2015 16:52 Comment Link

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

PNoy beats the INC, can he beat us all? September 1, 2015 11:21 pm

FRANCISCO S. TATAD by FRANCISCO S. TATAD


TATAD

WHILE various interested parties were praying the four-day Iglesia ni Cristo protest rally on EDSA/Shaw Boulevard would further build up, and more INC members were on their way from the peripheries, it was abruptly called off on Monday, prompting a spiral of spec

This was the talk even in Davao, where I flew on Monday, and thousands had been picketing the Hall of Justice from Saturday. Both sides have denied the suggestion, but no one believes the denial.

Some sources claiming to have a direct line to the INC said the organizers had miscalculated the cost of their mobilization, and had run out of money. But I can’t say even those saying this believed their own story.


OCHOA

The more persistent theory is that a deal was struck when Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa met with the INC top leadership behind closed doors in Quezon City on Saturday. No announcement of any kind was made about that meeting, but the rumor spread like wildfire, and it apparently became the meat of the discussion during Aquino’s emergency meeting with select members of the Cabinet at the Pangarap presidential residence on Sunday.

Malacańang has confirmed the Pangarap meeting and identified the participants to include Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., presidential political affairs consultant Ronald Llamas, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri, PNP Director General Ricardo Marquez, among others.

The INC protest march had been prompted by the allegedly extraordinary interest and attention given by De Lima to a complaint of serious illegal detention, harassment, grave threats and coercion filed by “expelled” INC minister Isaias Samson, his wife Myrna Dionela and son Isaias Jr. against the members of Sanggunian, the INC’s all-powerful administrative body.

Last July, Samson, a former editor-in-chief of Pasugo, INC’s official publication, was accused by his adversaries of running an anti-INC blog under the name of “Antonio Ebangelista.”

He denied the accusation, but came under “disciplinary action” from his accusers.

He and his family, according to himself, were prevented from ever leaving their residence. They were finally able to escape by pretending to attend an INC religious service and finding their way from there to a safer place. Unconfirmed reports said they got some friendly foreign help to relocate.

After the INC Executive Minister, the Sanggunian members are said to be the most powerful INC personalities.

The Samsons’ charges against them have yet to be investigated, and there is as yet no finding of probable cause. But serious illegal detention alone is a non-bailable offense; Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged “pork barrel queen,” has been recently convicted of it, even before she could be tried on her alleged role in the so-called “P10-billion pork barrel scam,” which had preoccupied the Senate and the media for months on end.

Therefore those charged with it had every reason to be worried. Many who had expressed support for the INC march from the sidelines had no real understanding of the real issues involved. They had no suspicion that it was all internal to the INC, and limited to De Lima’s handling of a complaint filed by one “expelled” INC minister against the leaders of his church.

This, they thought, was something that could shake the Aquino government to its roots. But upon closer scrutiny, nothing in the placards borne by the marchers nor in the statements coming from their spokesmen said anything about B. S. Aquino 3rd’s tyranny or incompetence, or his rotten government.

Despite their angry criticisms against De Lima, they took great care, in their placards and speeches, not to ask her to step down. And they took even greater care not to ask PNoy to fire her from her position. They accused her of violating the constitutional separation of Church and State for paying attention to the complaint of the Samsons.

But it seemed to have no bearing whatsoever on the case, which alleged certain crimes committed by some INC leaders against their own fellow members.

Many who had never thought much of De Lima found themselves cheering her for standing her ground. The INC backlash was real. Of course, there were some personalities who had come to the site to ride on the INC carousel; their opportunism shone like long-dead mackerel on a moonlit night.

Eager to use the anti-De Lima show to rouse the rabble against the blundering PNoy, one eager-beaver character mounted the stage to execute the equivalent of a clumsy knife-throwing act, only to be told by a high INC personality as soon as he was off stage that the march was not meant to offend or oust the tyrant. We all misread the signs. So what was the deal?

Against the continuing denial of such a deal by both the INC and Malacańang, qualified sources insist that the parties had agreed to take De Lima off the case, by allowing her to resign soon, along with the other Cabinet members who would be running for the Senate in the May 2016 elections. Whether or not this has any basis at all should become clear in the next few days.

So we wait. What is clear though is that the “agreement” to end the march on Monday, as announced by INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago has prompted the legal counsel for the Samsons to express fear of a possible whitewash.


Angel (left) and Tenny (right) Manalo, brother and mother of Iglesia ni Cristo executive minister Eduardo Manalo, recently released a video claiming that their lives were in danger. YouTube screengrab/David Romero PHILSTAR JULY 23, 2015

Lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles was quoted as saying that unless the details of the “agreement” were revealed to the public, the Samsons would have every reason to fear that justice would be sacrificed.

Would a whitewash not provoke a more massive general protest march, led perhaps by the Samsons, whose group is said to include a number of former INC ministers supportive of Ka Eduardo’s mother and brother who were earlier expelled from their church?

It is possible the end of one INC march could be the beginning of another? One question that seems foremost on the minds of the public and our politicians is this: What would be the immediate and long-term effect of these developments upon the INC’s ability to impose political discipline among its members in the next elections?

The usual practice has been for the INC leadership to provide a list of preferred candidates whom the INC members are asked to vote for as one community and one church. This has accounted for the INC’s tremendous political power all these years. But given everything that has happened, will that discipline still hold?

Will the leadership be able to continue to impose it upon its members, after invoking the “constitutional separation of Church and State” in the Samson case?

And for PNoy, will his ability to disband the INC march through clever deal-making prevent the greater population from staging a bigger march—- not necessarily to get rid of any of his Cabinet members, but to oust the entire regime? fstatad@gmail.com

17 Responses to PNoy beats the INC, can he beat us all?

arty says:
September 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm ang malinaw sa ngayon ay wala na ung kaso ng DoJ laban sa INC. Ayaw magsalita si Delima tungkol dito, ang tanging sinasabi nya “walang deal” at “mag-reresign ako sa takdang panahon.” sa madaling salita, nakamit ng INC ung gusto nila.
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George Flores says:
September 2, 2015 at 12:19 pm Melsor Milan ikaw na Lang sa impyerno Sama Kayo ni Samson and theLeila Dilemma
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Melsor Milan says:
September 2, 2015 at 10:39 am kahit ano pa sabihin ninyo, Iglesia Ni Manalo iyan at umpisa na yan ng pagkalagas Ninyo. Kita kits tayo sa impiyerno.
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Quel says:
September 2, 2015 at 9:50 am If your father told you to stay put and you are grounded for doing wrong, and the only guard you have is the guard in front of the whole compound because your house is not the only house in the compound so technically there is a guard in the main gate for the security of all the residents in the compound, and you are free to go out anytime without escort and some sort (CCTV is the proof)…is that illegal detention?
Reply

Antonio marco says:
September 2, 2015 at 9:41 am INC as they claim will not be divided it will continue to grow as a force to reckon with, the number keeps growing and growing day by day and that is why local politicians respect the INC. Our faith stands and we will be united as one.
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Kelly Angot says:
September 2, 2015 at 8:25 am Alejo Rosete, good luck on your wishful thinking!
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etnemelc says:
September 2, 2015 at 7:53 am I think INC beat pinoy and not pinoy beat INC. Manila was obviously held hostage by INC paralyzing edsa and manila. INC won pinoy and the rest of us lost.
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Marcospolo says:
September 2, 2015 at 5:07 am Hanggang ngayon,hindi pa din nauunawaan ng marami bakit patuloy na sumusunod ang lahat ng kaanib,sa bawat pasya ng namamahala sa kanila, Bawat tao, bago umanib Sa INC, isa-isang itinuturo at malinaw Na ipinapaliwanag ang aral na dapat mong sundin at ang pagbabagong buhay, Pati ang pagtitiwalag,inaalis lang ang kaanib,kung siya ay ayaw na at lumalaban na! Nagiging Inc lang ang isang tao,kung kusa at sumasampalataya siya sa aral! Mas mahalaga Ang pananampalataya ng isang INC sa ano mang bagay! Kung kaya niyang ipagkatiwala ang kanyang kaluluwa ano pa kaya ang pagboto ng pagkaisahan! Kaya lang naman ginalang at lalong nakilala at lumakas ang INC dahil sa kaisahan! Kaya hindi na ito magbabago! Kung gusto mong igalang at tingalain kailang ang pagkakaisa! Walang ibang tao ang sinusunod ng INC,maliban sa nangangasiwa!
Reply

michael says:
September 2, 2015 at 9:00 am “Nagiging Inc lang ang isang tao,kung kusa at sumasampalataya siya sa aral!” …or kung kailangan nya makapasok ng trabaho ng mabilisan. Kagaya ng SM?

michael says:
September 2, 2015 at 9:04 am “Walang ibang tao ang sinusunod ng INC,maliban sa nangangasiwa!” … Eh mag-kano naman kaya nabibili ang nangangasiwa? Posible ba na ginamit kayo ng nangangasiwa para hindi siya maipa-kulong ni De Lima?

bessie says:
September 2, 2015 at 12:55 pm Michael c DeLima ay tumiklop na..ni ayaw n nga nya na magsalita kc baka mamisinterpret na naman daw sya…igalang mo ang sinabi ni DeLima

Maria Kapra says:
September 2, 2015 at 2:32 am Religion divides us, being spiritual unite us.
Reply

Blasco says:
September 2, 2015 at 2:05 am Oust Malakanyang! Now NA! Otherwise, everyone will have to wait for ELEKSIYON-2016, which is not good. ELEKSIYON-2016 means even Zamboanga and Abra, Naga and Gensan City participate with their votes. No good, now NA! Tayo-tayo lang.
Reply
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Alejo Rosete says:
September 2, 2015 at 12:42 am This is just the beginning – NOT THE END The expelled ministers will soon go to EDSA to ask – WHAT IS THE DEAL? This second INC group will march to EDSA supported by the Filipino People and the NTC. I WILL SUPPORT THIS SECOND GROUP SEEKING JUSTICE. The end will show!
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lei says:
September 2, 2015 at 11:12 am Kelly Ong and company….Ito ang sagot namin sa inyo: Sa kanilang lumalaban, sila ay mapapahiya at malilito.-. Ipinahiya na kayo ng Diyos ng Iglesia…. Sige, tawag kayo ng vigil/rally para mapahiya ulit kayo, libu-libong alikabok na attendees just like those in Angel’s compound.

Ibrahim Varde says:
September 2, 2015 at 11:29 am Hindi iyan magagawa ng Samson’s camp since administration ang nasa likod ng kaguluhan… di nila magagawang ilaglag pa lalo sarili nila sa kahihiyan. Dahil tama lang na ipaglaban ng INC ang kanyang pananampalataya at kahit kelangan di magpapadikta sa administrasyon kung sino dapat iboto ng INC.

lei says:
September 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm “This second INC group will march to EDSA supported by the Filipino People and the NTC.” Really? Are you sure kelly ong and company? Well, if God will permit this second group kuno to do rally, It would only mean one thing – Ihahayag na Niya ang lahat ng mga nasa fake accounts at ang mga mapanghimagsik na puso upang tuluyan ng malinis ang Iglesia.


Expelled minister: INC execs use members as shield By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated September 1, 2015 - 10:37am 3 501 googleplus0 0


Members of the religious sect Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) shout slogans during a protest against the Justice Department, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 in the suburban Mandaluyong city east of Manila, Philippines. The sect members, who earlier camped out for two days in Manila, are accusing Justice Secretary Leila De Lima of harassing the congregation by ordering an investigation into what it said false allegations by its expelled members. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — An expelled minister of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Tuesday claimed that the sect's Sanggunian, or council, is using its members as "shields."

In a telephone interview with ANC's Headstart, Isaias Samson Jr. said that he is not sure if he is open to meeting with the Sanggunian.

"I know who they are, what they can do and they will do just to protect themselves... In the past days they have lied to people, they used the name of Bro. Eduardo Manalo in order to make the members of the church follow them and they even made the members of the church to shield them," Samson said.

The expelled minister added that the Sanggunian sent two of its members to the United States to talk with some of the INC's members who supposedly have grievances against alleged corruption in the sect.

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He added that the Sanggunian has also been contacting its members that they have previously expelled.

Samson clarified, however, that he is not going against the church nor its executive minister but he is going against the corruption "being rampantly committed by the Sanggunian."

"If there's something that happens to me, so be it. I believe it is God's will as long as I have my life and my strength. I will continue to fight against corruption, Samson said.

Samson earlier filed an illegal detention case against eight leaders of the religious organization, claiming that he and his family were placed under house arrest.

Members of the INC held a protest from Thursday to Monday against the investigation into possible criminal acts by some of its top leaders.

According to INC general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago, the religious sect has come to an "understanding" with the government.

Malacańang insisted that rule of law prevailed in the INC's decision to end its five-day protest which sparked public outrage for causing heavy traffic in Metro Manila.

RELATED: Expelled minister fears probe whitewash


INQUIRER

On Target: And we thought she was intelligent
@inquirerdotnet 06:36 AM September 1st, 2015

The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ended its three-day protest on Edsa yesterday after it was reportedly appeased by Malacańang.

The INC called it a victory but the government of President BS (Benigno Simeon) Aquino, aka Noynoy, did not want to reveal what concession/s it gave to the religious sect.

If P-Noynoy did indeed bend over backwards at the expense of the rule of law, what a shame.

That would really make him a weakling.

* * *

The protest was aimed at forcing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to resign for acting on the complaint of serious illegal detention filed by a former INC minister, Isaias Samson, against the church’s top officials.

The INC leadership had said that the issue was an internal matter and invoked the separation of church and state.

The INC is twisting the principle of separation of church and state.

De Lima was not attacking the church but upholding the rule of law when she ordered the investigation of some of its officials for allegedly violating another person’s liberty, a grievous offense.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, a bar topnotcher, was right when he said that De Lima’s action was not against the INC but against individuals within the religious group.

* * *

De Lima’s action was commendable because she had everything to lose for incurring the ire of the church whose members vote as a bloc during elections.

You see, the justice secretary is a possible senatorial candidate in 2016 and it looks like she has just lost a big chunk of the voting population.

But the majority of Filipino voters should back De Lima, a bar topnotcher like Koko Pimentel, and send her to the Senate.

We need a principled woman in that august body.

* * *

A principled woman Sen. Grace Poe definitely is not, judging from her recent behavior.

Poe, a potential presidential candidate, was pandering to the spoiled brat behavior of the INC.

“For me, those people are defending their faith. We respect the fact that they also have to protect their rights,” she told reporters.

What did Poe mean when she said INC members were “defending their faith” and “(protecting) their rights”?

It’s as if De Lima was persecuting INC members like what the Romans did to the early Christians.

No, Ms. Poe (aka Mrs. Llamanzares), there is nothing of that sort or even close to it.

Many people thought you were intelligent, Madame Senator.

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* * *

Michael Hingpit was arrested by policemen of the Manila Police District early Friday.

His crime? For being with his boyfriend in a taxicab.

A cop whom Michael described as “fat” got his cell phone and wallet containing P5,500 at the police station.

Worse, some of the other cops tried to force Michael to perform a sex act with his boyfriend in front of them.

When he asked the fat cop to return his cell phone and money, the latter beat him up and hit him on the head with a ladle.

But Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, chair of the National Police Commission, doesn’t give a hoot about Michael’s plight. Maybe because he’s not an INC member?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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