MANILA — Atty. Trixie Angeles, legal counsel to expelled Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Isaias Samson Jr., said the both INC and concerned government agencies should include Samson in the loop when discussing any agreement.
INC spokesperson Bro. Bienvenido Santiago announced Monday morning that the INC is finally putting an end to their nationwide, 5-day protest. According to him, a mutual agreement has been reached between their church and the government after hearing out each other’s side.
“Mga kapatid sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, nais naming ipahatid sa inyong lahat na nagkausap na ang panig ng Iglesia at panig ng pamahalaan. At sa pag-uusap na ito, ay nagkakaliwanagan ang dalawang panig kaya payapa na ang lahat,” Santiago told the media Monday morning.
(To our brethren in Iglesia Ni Cristo, we want to inform all of you that the side of the Iglesia and the government have spoken. And in this dialogue, both parties explained their sides and now everything is peaceful.)
In an ABS-CBN report, Angeles was quoted saying, “We are already in danger. [Developments] does further endangerment to my client… They should be talking to my client. Now the logical conclusion is for [Samson] to get shoved down the river.”
In the same report, Angeles added that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has given their camp no updates about Samson’s formal complaint of harassment, illegal detention, and coercion against eight officials of the INC.
However, several reports note that the DOJ is yet to assign the case to a prosecutor. Once a prosecutor has been assigned to the case, the preliminary investigation can begin.
Share agreement to ‘dispel rumors’
Former Akbayan Representative Walden Bello urged the government to reveal the terms of the “agreement” with INC.
On Sunday night — the last night of the 5-day INC protest-rally along EDSA — President Benigno Aquino III met with his Cabinet members, including Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
The INC is accusing De Lima and the DOJ of being biased and exercising “selective justice” when De Lima reportedly personally took care of Samson’s formal complaint. The INC is also calling for the separation of church and state, which they claim has been violated by the DOJ.
In a report by Rappler, Bello said that the government should share the details of the agreement “to dispel any sort of rumors about what is happening.”
Bello was quoted in the same report, saying that the government “should have just let this be resolved at the judicial level by normal judicial authorities.”
According to INC’s news channel, NET 25, high-level government officials heeded INC’s requests and the dialogue ended in a “peaceful agreement.”
‘No deal struck’
On Monday afternoon, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte announced that “there was no deal struck” with the INC.
“The talks gave both sides an opportunity to clarify issues and concerns,” Valte said, adding that the two sides — government and INC — only talked “to clarify issues,” just like what Roxas said in a statement.
“Noong mga nakaraang araw ay tahimik na nakipag-ugnayan ang pamahalaan sa mga lider ng INC. Naging pagkakataon ito upang magkaroon ng paglilinaw ukol sa mga isyu,” Roxas said in his official statement.