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Iglesia ni Cristo sues expelled minister for libel

MANILA, Philippines – The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) has filed a libel complaint against an expelled minister who alleged that INC officials placed him under house arrest for criticizing the influential group. 

Records from the Quezon City prosecutor's office showed that the INC, represented by Glicerio Santos, has accused Isaias Samson of libel.

Rappler learned the complaint was filed on July 24. It is set to be raffled on Friday, July 31.

Samson was former editor in chief of the INC's official publication Pasugo. 

He earlier accused INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr of corruption. (READ: Expelled INC minister: Don't cover up wrongdoing)

Samson also alleged he had been placed under house arrest in his townhouse in Quezon City.

Samson's statements about the INC prompted the church on Friday, July 24, to expel Samson for "disobedience" and "refusal to submit." 

INC's worst crisis

The INC, through its spokesman Brother Edwil Zabala, earlier denied allegations of corruption within the 101-year-old church.

Zabala also said that the INC may file charges against its critics, and dared them to present evidence to back up their allegations.

Zabala told Rappler on Saturday, July 25: "Saan ba natin karaniwang hinaharap ang halimbawa ay paratang? Kung ano yung mga naaayon sa isinasaad ng kagandang asal at saka ng batas ay doon ito haharapin ng Iglesia ni Cristo."

(Where do we normally face accusations, for instance? Whatever is dictated by good manners as well as the law, that is where the Iglesia ni Cristo will face these.)

The INC is facing its worst crisis in years, with leadership controversies and corruption allegations threatening to divide followers within the group. 

Earlier, the mother and brother of INC head Eduardo Manalo claimed that their lives were in danger from the Sanggunian (Council).

Angel Manalo also accused the Sanggunian of corruption and of manipulating his elder brother, Eduardo. – Rappler.com