Palace backs DOJ probe on alleged INC abduction

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Sunday, August 16, said the Department of Justice has the mandate to investigate the alleged abductions involving several Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members.

Palace Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said it is well within the powers of the DOJ to investigate individuals or organizations that allegedly violate the law. (READ: Minister denies abduction, torture charges in INC-run TV show)

Kasama sa mandato ng Department of Justice ‘yung pagsisiyasat sa indibidwal o organisasyon na nasasangkot o maaaring sangkot sa posibleng paglabag sa batas. At kapag ang imbestigasyon ay nagpapakita na mayroong sapat na katibayan o ebidensya para maghain ng kinauukulang usapin sa korte, nakapaloob ‘yan sa awtoridad ng Department of Justice,” Coloma said over state-run radio dzRB.

(It is included in the Department of Justice's mandate to investigate individuals or organizations that are involved or allegedly involved in possible violation of the law. If this investigation shows there is enough proof or evidence to file a case in court, that is included in the Department of Justice's authority.)

Lawyer Harry Roque, in his blog, earlier called on De Lima to respect religious freedom and follow Philippine jurisprudence that “respected the INC’s religious tenets.” (READ: DOJ denies INC 'abduction' is 'case closed')

The lawyer cited the court’s decisions respecting the religious groups' prohibitions of its members to join labor unions and upholding their stinging attacks against the Catholic Church in a television program. 

“If there indeed was a crime committed, let the complaint be filed with the police, the fiscal’s office and eventually the court. Unless such a complaint is filed the Justice Secretary should leave the Iglesia ni Cristo alone,” Roque said.

Roque is a presumed senatorial candidate under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance. The INC, meanwhile, is a known mover in politics, as it is known to practice block voting, prompting many politicians to try to get to the group's good side. –