DOJ urged to continue probe on INC despite rally

By , on August 31, 2015

Department of Justice (Photo from Wikipedia/Ramon Velasquez)
Department of Justice (Photo from Wikipedia/Ramon Velasquez)

MANILA – Expelled minister Isaias Samson urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue its preliminary investigation on the charges filed against Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) Sanggunian, the church’s highest administrative council.

Even with thousands of INC members protesting in EDSA until today, Samson and his family remained hopeful that the DOJ would not be deterred in its probe on criminal charges against the INC leaders.

“We urged the DOJ to already docket the case for the conduct of preliminary investigation to accord our clients their right to due process of law,” Samson’s lawyer, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, said in a Philippine Star report.

“By now it should be docketed and the [preliminary probe] should commence,” she added.

Samson, his wife Myrna Dionela and son Isaias Jr. earlier filed a complaint against the INC council for serious illegal detention, harassment, grave threats and coercion.

With questions on why the DOJ was handling the case instead of the issue being resolved in the courts, Angeles explained that the preliminary investigation was needed for Samson’s camp to determine whether there was probable cause that could warrant the filing of such case in the courts.

The DOJ, for its part, might not have a choice as inaction in the criminal charges at this time could make them liable under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Meanwhile, EDSA has already been cleared of INC protesters since Monday after the government talked to the religious group’s leaders.

“Nag-usap na po ang gobyerno at ang INC. Iyon ang pahayag ng pamamahala kaya natapos na ang protesta,” Senior Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo said in a GMA News report.

(The government and the INC have already talked. That’s the statement of the management that’s why the protest has been ended.)

With the massive protest actions now ended, a former lawmaker demanded that the government disclose the details of its deal with the INC.

“Has the government retreated? Will the case filed by one of their members, will that no longer be pursued?” former Akbayan representative Walden Bello said in a news conference, adding that it was the government’s duty to probe on criminal complaints against anyone regardless of his religious affiliation.

It was on Thursday last week when several INC members gathered in front of the DOJ’s office in Manila before proceeding to EDSA, where they voiced their condemnation on the department’s involvement in their church’s affairs.