Iglesia ni Cristo eyes case against critics

LEADER'S BROTHER. Angel Manalo, brother of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) head Eduardo Manalo, exposes the alleged corruption in the INC. The INC says it is considering to file a case against its critics, but has not named the persons it can possibly sue. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

LEADER'S BROTHER. Angel Manalo, brother of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) head Eduardo Manalo, exposes the alleged corruption in the INC. The INC says it is considering to file a case against its critics, but has not named the persons it can possibly sue.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

For the first time, family members of the INC head himself, Eduardo Manalo, exposed the alleged corruption within the 100-year-old church. They also revealed the supposed abduction of INC ministers who have been critical of the group's hierarchy. 

Angel told reporters past midnight Friday, July 24: "Nasira na ang doktrina ng Iglesia ni Cristo. Kung papaano ninyo hinangaan noon, nakita ninyo, napakarami nang anomalya. Napakarami nang tiwali na ginagawa sa Iglesia. Iyon po ang ayaw namin."

(The doctrine of the Iglesia ni Cristo is now damaged. In the same way that you looked up to us before, now you can see there are many anomalies. There are many acts of corruption in the Church. That's what we want to avoid.)

His family members' statements prompted Manalo, in an unprecedented move, to expel his own mother and brother from the group. Zabala said the INC can re-admit Angel and Tenny Manalo, but only if they pledge obedience.

Incidentally, the INC also marks its 101st anniversary on Monday. 

The INC, whose name in English is "Church of Christ," is a century-old church registered in the Philippines by Felix Manalo on July 27, 1914. 

From a dozen members, the INC's membership has now grown to around 2.25 million. This is, as of 2010, almost near the 2.7-million strong population of Quezon City, the Philippines' former capital that is now the country's most populated city. 

While 8 out of 10 Filipinos belong to the Catholic Church, the INC remains a politically influential group. (READ: INC: From rag-rag sect to influential wheeler-dealer) Politicians court the INC because it practices bloc voting, or electing only the set of leaders prescribed by church leaders. The church, as of 2013, has around 1.37 million voters. 

The INC endorsed President Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 elections. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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