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NBI on Iglesia ni Cristo 'abduction': Case closed

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation on Monday, July 27, concluded that the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) did not abduct a number of ministers as critics claimed. 

"Case closed," NBI official Manny Eduarte said in a news conference.

Eduarte, chief of the NBI anti-organized crime division, explained that investigators failed to find any piece of evidence to prove the alleged abduction.

Eduarte's men reported "that they were not able to prove the allegation of abduction considering that they were not able to enter the premises of the INC, and they tried knocking at the gate, which was locked."

"They were not given entry so no information was gathered, and they were told there's no such thing such as an abduction inside the premises of the INC," Eduarte said.

He said INC's lawyers also denied the supposed abduction.

He added that his men "felt somewhere that there was a squabble within," so "they did not bother to look into allegations regarding anomalies." 

Cops, too, rule out abduction

This comes only one working day after the DOJ on Friday, July 24, said it has ordered the NBI to probe the alleged abduction. 

Tenny Manalo, mother of INC head Eduardo Manalo, earlier requested INC members to "help the ministers who were taken and until now, have not yet been found." The INC later expelled Tenny as well as her son, Angel. 

At the window of an INC building in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, a sign on Thursday, July 23, also fueled suspicions of an abduction. The sign read, "Tulong, hostage kami." (Help, we're held hostage.)

Cops who went to the site also immediately ruled out any case of abduction in the INC compound. The compound's occupants also refused them entry. 

When asked if he was held hostage, Angel told reporters, "Hindi ko po sinabi. Mayroon pong batang nagbibiro." (I didn't say that. There was a kid who was fooling around.)  

The alleged abduction is part of the INC's worst crisis. Manalo's own brother made an unprecedented move in accusing the INC of corruption.

The INC on Monday sued an expelled minister for libel after he made a similar claim. – Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com