US-based INC minister: ‘Never my intention to quit’

Paterno Esmaquel II
US-based INC minister: ‘Never my intention to quit’
But Iglesia ni Cristo's Louie Cayabyab asks his flock to support the vigils in their districts, citing INC members who are 'risking their lives'

MANILA, Philippines – Louie Cayabyab, the US-based Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister who defied the INC’s central office and quit during a worship service, said he wants to stay in the century-old church. 

In a Youtube video uploaded Sunday, July 26, Cayabyab said he never intended to quit. He knew, however, that he would lose his job as a “repercussion” of defying the central office.

“There are some people, brethren and non-brethren alike, who have mistaken that I wanted to quit as a minister. Let me clarify that it is never my intention to quit. It is never my intention to draw back and give up on my duties now. This is my life,” Cayabyab said in a 6-minute Youtube video.

He added: “I can’t imagine my life not preaching, not performing my duties. But I am so aware that once I don’t read a circular, that would be the repercussion. And so I prepped myself for that.” 

“But if I would be given a chance to still perform despite what I did, I would continue to perform, because as I have said, I love my duty and I would continue to perform,” he said. 

Cayabyab, an INC minister based in Fremont, Northern California, recently defied the INC’s central office in the face of the church’s worst crisis. He said that because of this, “from now on,” he “will no longer be a minister.” 

‘Probably I will be expelled’

At that time, Cayabyab refused to read circulars on the expulsion on the mother and brother of INC head Brother Eduardo Manalo. He also rejected the circular expelling Isaias Samson Jr, a former minister and editor in chief of the INC’s official publication, Pasugo.

“I decided, brethren, that I won’t read those circulars. You might be asking, ‘Why?’ Because in my heart, in my heart of hearts, I can’t take it. It is just so so difficult to betray one’s heart,” the minister said.

“I know the repercussion of this, and I know what will be the consequence. I know that I will be stripped out of my duty. From now on, I will no longer be a minister. Probably I will be expelled from the church, but I will take it, brothers and sisters,” he added, as people in the background cried. 

Sought for comment on Sunday, July 26, INC spokesman Brother Edwil Zabala told Rappler he “is not aware” of Cayabyab’s move. 

The INC earlier expelled Manalo’s mother and brother, Tenny and Angel, as well as Samson, for exposing supposed wrongdoing in the INC. These include the alleged corruption in the church and the reported abduction of INC ministers. 

Support vigils

Prompted by this crisis in the INC, Cayabyab in his new Youtube video called on INC members to “support the peaceful vigils” held in their districts.

He called on INC members in Northern California to meet in the INC’s US main office building at 6 pm. It was unclear if he was referring to 6 pm on Sunday or Monday, July 27.

He urged INC members in the US to do “just like what our brethren in the Philippines are doing.” He said, “Brethren in the Philippines are risking their lives…We are safer here in this country and other parts of the world.” (READ: Hiding faces, more INC members back Manalo kin)

In another Youtube video, Cayabyab told his fellow INC members: “Mga kapatid, alam naman natin ang totoo. Alam naman natin na talagang mayroong hindi magandang nangyayari sa Iglesia. Ngayon kung totoo po na mahal natin ang Iglesia, ipagmalasakit po natin.” (READ: Expelled INC minister: Don’t cover up wrongdoing)

(Brethren, we know the truth. We know that there’s really something bad happening in the Church. Now if we truly love the Church, let’s care for it. No one else will care for the Church except us. Let us expose the anomalies, the corruption happening, so that we can change what needs to be changed, and bring the Church back to its cleaner and better state.)

Cayabyab added: “Totoo na halos matunaw tayo sa kahihiyan. Pare-pareho tayong nasasaktan, mga kapatid. Tayong mga ministro, mga manggagawa, lahat ng mga kaanib sa Iglesia, nasasaktan tayo sapagkat pinagtatawanan tayo ng ating mga kababayan at marami pang tao sa buong mundo. Pero hindi pa po huli ang lahat, mga kapatid. Meron pang pag-asa.” 

(It’s true that we would almost melt in shame. We’re all hurt, brethren. We the ministers, the workers, all members of the Church, we are all hurt because our countrymen and many people around the world are laughing at us. But it is not over, brethren. There is hope.) – 

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at