(Eagle News) – “The least we can expect from the Department of Justice – is justice.”
The Iglesia Ni Cristo gave this statement today as it called on the DOJ to focus its energy in pursuing justice for the fallen members of the Special Action Force where it said two of those killed were INC members, instead of harassing the INC on what it said were false allegations of its expelled members.
In a press conference today, INC general evangelist minister Bienvenido C. Santiago read a strongly worded statement in reaction to the “unusual attention” and assistance being given by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in the filing of the illegal detention case by an expelled INC minister, Isaias Samson Jr., against the Church’s Sanggunian or council of ministers.
The INC questioned De Lima’s motive in pursuing the case against the INC ministers of the Sanggunian.
“Ang pagsusulong ng reklamong inihain ni Samson ay napag-alaman naming nagawa sa ilalim ng patnubay ni Secretary Leila de Lima, sapagkat labis at di-pangkaraniwan ang atensyon na iniukol niya. Ano kaya ang motibo niya? Siya pa mismo ang personal na nag-asikaso ng nasabing reklamo,” Santiago said as he read the INC statement.
He said such unusual attention was not seen by the public from the DOJ head in the case of the 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who were killed in Mamasapano massacre last January.
“(Ang) pag-aasikaso at atensyon na (ito ay) hindi nakita ng Sambayanang Pilipino sa Kalihim ng Katarungan sa usapin ng pagpaslang sa 44 na sundalo ng Special Action Forces…” he said.
“Bagaman ang dalawa sa mga napaslang doon ay mga kapatid namin sa Iglesia, matahimik kaming naghintay sa mga gagawin ng Department of Justice para tugisin at usigin ang mga may kagagawan sa madugong pangyayaring yaon,” Santiago said.
“Gayundin sa kung sino sa panig ng Pamahalaan ang dapat papanagutin sa pangyayaring iyon. Hanggang ngayon, gaya ng alam ng marami ay wala pang napananagot,” he added.
Santiago said that the INC had learned that the DOJ was also giving special attention to other expelled INC members.
“Nakarating po sa aming kaalaman na may ilan pa pong inaalagaan ang DOJ na mga inalis na sa Iglesia at mga kabilang sa mga nais na manggulo sa Iglesia,” he said.
“Bakit hindi binigyan ng atensyon ng DOJ ang kaso ng apatnaput apat na sundalong napatay sa Mamasapano na kasing-tindi ng ibinigay nila sa mga taong naghain ng reklamo sa kanilang Tanggapan kahapon? Kumpara sa apatnaput apat na sundalo na napatay sa Mamasapano, dito sa inirereklamo ni Samson ay wala ni isang lamok na napatay. Halata namang kasinungalingan ang sinasabi ng mga nagrereklamo,” Santiago said as he continued to read the statement of the INC.
He then called on De Lima, including the officials giving orders to her, to give the same vigorous attention to the case of the Fallen 44.
“Gusto naming paratingin kay Secretary Leila de Lima at sa mga nag-uutos sa kanya na hinihiling namin ngayon, hinihiling ng Iglesia Ni Cristo, sa ngalan ng mga naulila ng dalawang sundalong nasawi sa Mamasapano na mga kapatid namin sa Iglesia—na pag-ukulan din niya ng kasing sigasig na pag-aasikaso ang kaso ng Fallen 44. Sa madaling sabi, dapat maging parehas at walang bias ang Kagawaran ng Katarungan. The least we can expect from the Department of Justice is Justice,” Santiago said.
Santiago, who was among those named by Samson in his complaint for illegal detention, said the INC has the right to expel members who are creating trouble and sowing disunity in the Church which upholds unity and solidarity as one of its main biblical doctrines.
He said the problem that had recently arisen concerning the INC was an “internal” one, and that the INC had to discipline and even expel some ministers who wanted to destroy the INC Church Administration led by INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo.
“Natural lamang na kailangang ipatupad ng Iglesia ang mga disiplina, ayon sa mga aral at mga tuntuning itinataguyod ng organisasyong ito mula pa noong una, na nakasalig sa Banal na Kasulatan o Biblia. Karapatan naman ng organisasyong ito, at marahil ng alinmang organisasyon, na dumipensa laban sa sinumang nais puminsala rito,” Santiago said.
He said this is why the INC is disciplining, suspending from Church duties, or even expelling members who were found to have violated biblical doctrines that all INC members, especially INC ministers, know by heart.
“Spagkat iyan ang paraan para mapanatili ang pagkakaisa ng Iglesia, dalhin sa labas ng Iglesia angmga nanggugulo at nagtatangkang maghasik ng pagkakabaha-bahagi,” Santiago said.
Samson, the expelled INC minister who filed a complaint for illegal detention against the members of the INC’s Sanggunian, claimed he was placed under “house arrest”. But he had earlier told the press that he was allowed to leave his house when he asked permission to attend a worship service. But Samson did not proceed to the worship service . Instead he called a press conference in Manila where he aired his grievances against the INC administration before the media.