Manalo siblings to stay put at 36 Tandang Sora until new order

Mara Cepeda
Manalo siblings to stay put at 36 Tandang Sora until new order

Alecs Ongcal

Iglesia ni Cristo lawyer Moises Tolentino Jr says they plan to request next week for a writ of execution before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court, the court authorized to release the document

MANILA, Philippines – Lottie Manalo-Hemedez and Angel Manalo, the estranged siblings of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) executive minister Eduardo Manalo, cannot be kicked out of the contested 36 Tandang Sora property in Quezon City (QC) just yet.

This is after the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) Branch 12 clarified this week that it cannot issue the writ of execution on its earlier decision for the siblings to “immediately vacate” the compound, following the INC’s unlawful detainer case against the Manalos. 

An unlawful detainer case stems from a landlord’s complaint against a tenant who allegedly illegally continues to use his or her property. The landlord seeks the help of the court to evict the tenant.

“The court said the Manila MTC has only been delegated the function of receiving evidence and conducting the hearing. But a writ of execution can only be issued by the QC MTC,” Hemedez’s lawyer Trixie Angeles-Cruz told Rappler on Saturday, June 25.

The INC previously filed an illegal detainer case against the Manalos for insisting on staying at 36 Tandang Sora even after their expulsion from the 101-year-old church.

Manila MTC Branch 12 Presiding Judge Anne Perpetual Rivera-Sia ruled that the Manalos’ stay at 36 Tandang Sora is no longer legal and ordered them to surrender the property to the INC.

The decision, however, can only be carried out in full once the INC has secured a writ of execution from the QC MTC, the court authorized to release the said document. 

But INC lawyer Moises Tolentino Jr said they filed the petition for a writ of execution before the Manila MTC. 

“Yes, yes, the Manila MTC cannot issue the writ of execution. We are addressing the concern,” Tolentino told Rappler.

He said they plan to follow the Manila MTC’s recommendation by Wednesday next week.

Tolentino added that this is “not a cause of concern” for the INC, calling the latest decision “merely procedural.”

Ownership claims continue 

The illegal detainer case is a separate complaint on top of a months-long dispute between Hemedez and the INC over the ownership of the two-hectare property in QC.

Hemedez is accusing the INC of faking a deed of sale for the compound, an allegation which the church has repeatedly denied.

The Manalo siblings have since alleged harassment from the church, saying the INC has been pumping sewage water inside their residence, has cut off their access to water and electricity, and fenced off areas in the property. 

The INC also tightened security at the compound’s entrance, with guards inspecting deliveries being sent to the Manalos. 

The church said it is only doing so after they discovered the siblings’ supporters were allegedly sneaking in spying equipment through the deliveries.  

Hemedez and Angel Manalo were expelled from the INC after Angel, together with their mother Tenny, claimed a threat to their lives in a YouTube video released in July 2015.

It started a series of corruption and abduction accusations against the INC, the worst crisis to hit the influential church in years. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.