MANILA (Mabuhay) – The state’s concern in the row involving the Iglesia ni Cristo is limited only to the possibility of a crime being committed, Malacañang said Saturday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also said the religious group’s reported practice of “bloc voting” is not a factor in the ongoing investigation.
“The state is concerned only with any possibility that a crime may have been committed. Sa ibang pinag-uusapan, hindi kasali ang estado roon,” she said on state-run dzRB radio.
When asked if the Palace is concerned about the so-called bloc vote, she said, “hindi pinag-uusapan iyan in light of the recent incident.”
The National Bureau of Investigation is verifying allegations of harassment and abduction involving some ministers and members of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The row stemmed from a video of a grandson of Iglesia’s founder Felix Manalo and a son of the late leader Erano Manalo, claiming harassment and abductions.
In an interview on Friday, Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo, brother of Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo gave the public a glimpse into the power struggle within the religious group.
“Ang sinasabi lumalaban po kami sa pamamahala. Hindi po kami lumalaban; mahal po namin ang aming kapatid na siyang namamahala ngayon sa Iglesia. Ang amin lang pakiusap, huwag siyang maniniwala sa Sanggunian sapagkat nauubos na ang abuloy ng Iglesia sa kung anu-anong proyekto na hindi naman kailangan.”
Angel particularly questioned the construction of the $200 million or P7.8 billion Philippine Arena within the 50-hectare Ciudad de Victoria property of Iglesia ni Cristo in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“Isa na ang Philippine Arena sa ipinagtataka ko kung bakit nabuo dahil ang laging priority na aming ipinapagawa ay ang mga malalaking kapilya po. Bakit ngayon napunta ang pokus natin doon? Sana man lang kung hindi nauubos ang pondo para sa paggawa ng mga kapilya,” said Angel.
But the group’s administration denied the allegations of abductions and expelled some members including Angel and his mother.
Angel was expelled from the church after claiming his life was in danger in a video that circulated on social media Wednesday evening.
For now, Valte said, the Palace will not comment. “Ngayon muna ongoing pa (ang imbestigasyon), hindi kami magkukumento,” she said. (MNS)