Expelled INC minister: Don't cover up wrongdoing

MANILA, Philippines – In a video shot before he fled to a safer location, expelled Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Isaias Samson Jr dared the church's spokesmen to expose the corruption in INC that they supposedly know about. 

"Maging spokesperson kayo ng Diyos, hindi ng mga taong inyong ipinagtatanggol," Samson said in a 4-minute video on Facebook. (Be spokespersons of God, not of people you're defending.)

Samson addressed this message to INC's two spokesmen, General Evangelist Bienvenido "Bien" Santiago and Edwil Zabala. He said Santiago and Zabala know about the alleged corruption perpetrated by INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. 

Facebook user Sher Lock, who has anonymously exposed corruption in the INC, released the video on Friday, July 24. 

It was the same day Zabala confirmed that the INC had expelled Samson, former editor in chief of INC's official publication Pasugo. The expelled minister earlier claimed that INC officials placed him under house arrest for running a blog filled with accusations against the century-old church. 

Sought for comment, Zabala told Rappler on Saturday morning, July 25, that he has not watched Samson's video.

"Wala muna akong response kasi hindi ko pa naman siya napapanood. Hindi ko pa naman naa-analyze ang kanyang sinabi," Zabala said. (I won't give a response for now because I haven't watched it. I haven't analyzed what he said.)

'Hindi naitatago ang lihim'

In his video, Samson explained that Santiago and Zabala themselves had talked about Santos' alleged corruption. He described Santiago and Zabala as long-time friends.  

"Meron ka pa ngang termino, Kapatid na Bien, na sinasabi mo sa akin, wala tayong magagawa sapagka't siya ang apple of the eye ngayon ng namamahala, kaya kahit anong sabihin natin ay hindi pakikinggan. Nalalaman ninyo kung anong nangyayari," Samson said. 

(You even have a term, Brother Bien, and you tell me we cannot do anything because he is the apple of the eye of our leader, and anything we say will fall on deaf ears. You know what is happening.) 

"Si Kapatid na Edwil, nagkakabiruan tayo, pero sa biro, nalalaman mo kung ano yung nasasabi sa biro at kung ano ang nasasabi at nababanggit na bagay na nangyayari," he added. (As for Brother Edwil, we joke about it, and through these, you get to know what's meant as a joke and what's meant as real.)

TAKING A STAND. Isaias Samson Jr recounts his family's ordeal. Rappler file photo

TAKING A STAND. Isaias Samson Jr recounts his family's ordeal.

Rappler file photo

Samson said they should tell the truth because the truth will eventually emerge.

He said: "Itinuturo natin yan, na hindi naitatago ang lihim kundi 'yan ay lilitaw. Ihahayag yan ng ating Panginoong Diyos. Pero sana maintindihan ninyo, kung ihayag man ng Diyos ang lihim, sana hindi kayo kasama sa ihahayag niya na kayo ay gumagawa ng masama at pinagtatakpan ninyo ang kamalian."

(We preach that we can never conceal secrets, and that these will eventually surface. Our Lord God reveals these. But I hope you understand, if God eventually reveals these secrets, I hope you will not be part of his revelation and turn out to be doing evil and covering up for wrongdoings.) – Rappler.com

Paterno R. 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 pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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