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INC leaders face new complaint from ex-member

MANILA, Philippines – Several top leaders of influential homegrown church Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) are facing another complaint from an expelled member, over accusations of coercion, harassment, threats, and arbitrary detention.

On Friday, November 6, Jose Norilito Fruto appeared before state prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the preliminary investigation on his complaint against 17 individuals, including members of the INC's top administrative body, the Sanggunian.

Named respondents in the complaint filed by Fruto and 7 others were INC officials Glicerio Santos, Radel Cortez, Eraño Cordera, Mathusalem Pareja, Rodel Cabrera, Maximo Bularan, and Rolando Esguerra. Also named in the complaint were 10 others and "John and Jane Does."

Speaking to reporters before the preliminary investigation, Fruto said he was forcibly taken at gunpoint from his home in Caloocan City on July 14, based on a complaint of alleged rape against him.

He belied the allegations, saying that at the time of the alleged incident, he was conducting a medical seminar.

Fruto then narrated how several police officers came into his house and confiscated phones, laptops, and even cash and jewelry.

Fruto believes he was targeted because he was helping Angel and Tenny Manalo, the estranged sibling and mother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

The head of the powerful church expelled his own siblings and mother in July, after they claimed that their lives were in danger from members of the Sanggunian.

The preliminary hearing on Fruto's complaint also comes on the same day that prosecutors submitted for resolution the serious illegal detention complaint filed by expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr against top church officials.

The INC respondents in both complaints tackled at the DOJ were no-shows during the preliminary hearing.  Rappler.com