President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Budget Presentation meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace Monday (July 6). (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Budget Presentation meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace Monday (July 6). (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she is not resigning and there was no deal struck with the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo.

In an ambush interview at her office on Tuesday morning, De Lima initially declined to issue any statement, waving off reporters and saying “no statement.” Later on she acceded to answering a few questions.

“Will I be here if I’m resigning? I’m back at work. There’s a lot of work to do after the holidays,” she said.

Iglesia ni Cristo called for her resignation because of her alleged intrusion in the internal affairs of the group.

De Lima also denied there was a deal struck with the Iglesia ni Cristo which was the reason why the group stood down and stopped their five-day rally.

The group launched the protest action days after expelled member Isaias Samson Jr. filed a criminal complained before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against members of the Iglesia ni Cristo’s Sanggunian for allegedly harassing and illegally detaining him and his family.

The Iglesia ni Cristo alleged that De Lima was behind Samson’s filing of the criminal complaint.

The group started their protest action on Thursday last week, in front of the DOJ compound along Padre Faura Street in Manila. They moved to EDSA on Friday and voluntarily dispersed on Monday morning.

This was after Iglesia ni Cristo general evangelist Bienvenido Santiago announced that they were ending the protest action after a meeting with the government.

“Nagkausap na po ang panig ng Iglesia ni Cristo at panig ng pamahalaan at sa pag-uusap na ito ay nagkapaliwanagan na po ang magkabilang panig,” Santiago said in a recorded message.

“Kaya payapa na po ang lahat. Itong isinasagawa nating mapayapang pagtitipion ay natatapos na po nang mapayapa rin ngayon pong Lunes ng umaga.”

Expelled Iglesia ni Cristo member Isaias Samson Jr. reiterated his camp’s call for Malacañang to divulge details of its meeting with officials of the religious sect.

“Ang amin po sanang pakiusap ay maging transparent ang Palasyo, ang Malacañang, doon sa naging agreement kung mayroon man,” Samson said.

Samson’s lawyers feared that their case will be dismissed as a result of the meeting between the Iglesia ni Cristo and the government. (MNS)