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Palace on the 'Iglesia ni Cristo' controversy

Breaking News • 04:27 AM Sun Jul 26, 2015
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PNA
Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte. (malacanang photo)

MANILA (PNA) -- The national government’s interest in probing the recent controversy involving members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is limited to verifying whether a crime has indeed been committed, Malacañang said Saturday.Speaking over Radyo ng Bayan, Undersecretary Abigail Valte said both the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police are already looking into the matter, amid reports that the INC is in possession of high-caliber guns, which it allegedly used to intimidate ministers who are critical of its current leadership. Secretary (Leila) de Lima has dispatched a team from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to verify allegations, so kung mayroon hong mga ganyan ay maisasama na ito doon sa imbestigasyon,” she said. Remember that the State is only concerned with any possibility that a crime may have been committed, pero doon po sa mga ibang pinag-uusapan ay hindi na po kasali ang estado doon,” Valte added.Valte downplayed questions whether Malacañang is alarmed by these developments, given the fact that INC is known as an influential religious group whose members vote as a bloc in every election. ‘Yung sa ‘vote as a bloc,’ hindi po natin napag-uusapan ito, in light of the recent incident. But, again, mayroon na ho tayong… Kumbaga, ang NBI nagpadala na po sila ng kanilang team, at tingnan na lang po natin,” Valte said. I can say that since this happened, of course, we’re aware of it because it has been plastered all over the news. But, beyond that, medyo marami din pong ibang napapagtuunan ng pansin ang Pangulo,” she added.The NBI is verifying serious allegations of harassment and abduction involving some ministers and members of the INC, as claimed by Felix Nathaniel ‘Angel’ Manalo in a video posted on YouTube this week, which then spread out to various social media platforms.Angel is grandson to INC’s founding father Felix, son to the late executive minister, Eraño, and brother to the current leader, Eduardo.In the video, which ran under two minutes, Angel and his mother, Tenny, claimed that their lives were in danger and were seeking help from the public. They also appealed to their fellow INC members to aid the families of the ministers who allegedly disappeared and are yet to be found.Angel and the other ministers are reportedly questioning some of the big-ticket projects of the INC, including the construction of the 0-million or P7.8-billion Philippine Arena within the 50-hectare Ciudad de Victoria property of the religious group in Bocaue, Bulacan.The INC administration denied the allegations of corruption, harassment and abduction, and has since expelled some of its members, including Angel and his mother. (PNA)

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