DOJ probe on charges vs INC leaders yet to begin
DOJ probe on charges vs INC leaders yet to begin


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says the delay is due to an incomplete set of complaints

MANILA, Philippines – The charges filed by an expelled Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister two weeks ago against members of the powerful church’s highest administrative body has yet to undergo preliminary investigation before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

This was confirmed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday, September 8, saying the delay is due to an incomplete set of complaints.

Dahil hindi naman puwedeng magsimula ng proseso na kulang pa ang number of complaints (Because we cannot start the process if the number of complaints is still lacking),” De Lima said in a chance interview.

“There is a required number of complaint-affidavits, which should be complete, including yung mga (the) attachments,” she added.

This was confirmed by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano by telephone.

A prosecutor or a panel of prosecutors has yet to be assigned or formed for the harassment, coercion, grave threats and illegal detention complaints filed by former INC minister Isaias Samson Jr

Consequently, no hearing dates have been set yet.

No interference

INC Sanggunian members Glicerio Santos Jr, Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago Sr, Mathusalem Pareja, Rolando Esguerra, Eraño Codera, Rodelio Cabrera, and Maximo Bularan Jr were named respondents in Samson’s criminal complaints.

INC leaders have slammed De Lima’s alleged special attention given to Samson’s complaints, citing her appearance during the television news coverage of the filing.

Branding this so-called special favor as state interference in religious affairs, INC leaders mobilized thousands of its flock to a 5-day mass action which started in front of the Department of Justice in downtown Manila and ended along the historic Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue.

De Lima on Tuesday explained she will let the DOJ prosecutors handle the case as protocol dictates.

“So the Secretary of Justice cannot interfere, cannot dictate on how the case is disposed off by the prosecutor. But as I said, I monitor, because I want to make sure na tama ang ginagawa ng prosecutor alinsunod sa (that what the prosecutor is doing is consistent with) established procedure,” she added.

If the charges are resolved by members of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) headed by Arellano and the resolution is appealed, that is the time the resolution of the charges is elevated to the justice secretary.

A preliminary investigation to be conducted by the NPS provides the INC leaders a chance to be heard through the filing of counter-affidavits.

Once a prosecutor or panel of prosecutors is assigned to Samson’s complaint, a hearing will be set. The respondents will be issued a subpoena or summons to appear before the hearing. –

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