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Jul 24, 2015
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Just when we thought Chris Brown was Iglesia ni Cristo's (INC) biggest headache this week, here comes a more dire predicament...

In this edition of the FHM Explainer, we delve into all available information on the recent hubbub involving one of the country's most powerful religious groups. And with hints of familial conflicts and power struggles, we just hope that all of these would end well, especially for the sake of its millions-strong following.


HOW IT STARTED

A few days before INC celebrates its 101st founding anniversary (July 27), a video of Felix Nathaniel "Ka Angel" Manalo and Cristina "Ka Tenny" Manalo, brother and mother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo respectively, calling for help surfaced on YouTube:


Video via David Romero

Not too long before the video—which speaks of internal conflict within the religion—emerged, rumors of ministers held captive or gone missing have already been circulating since early this year. A blog, titled The Tyranny of Injustice, about the alleged misdoings and "evil ways," particularly abductions, by and of several members of the church also came out.

INC General Evangelist Ka Bienvenido Santiago issued this statement yesterday afternoon, July 23, following Ka Angel and Ka Tenny's SOS video:


"HOSTAGE TAKING"

On the same day, several news outfits tried getting in touch with the banished INC members at the EGM compound, the family's supposed residence in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, but all they got were these foreboding signs from one of the houses:

The black Toyota Revo the signs referred to was reportedly seen around the area while news teams staked out near the residence. Meanwhile, ABS-CBN's Bandila even tried reaching out to the people inside but to no avail:

Shortly after, a group of INC members converged in front of the compound to pray, while some expressed shock and grief over all that's happening. There were also reports of unidentified people throwing food into the compound, whose power and water supply was said to have been cut off later that night.


ANGEL SPEAKS UP

It wasn't until Friday (July 24) dawn when members of the press were able to talk to Ka Angel outside of their home, and the estranged brother of Ka Eddie had quite the revelation(s):


Video via Rappler

The former editor of Pasugo, (the church's official publication) Isaias Samson Jr., who claimed he was placed under house arrest by Iglesia's council, Sanggunianseconded Ka Angel's assertions. A few hours later, Isaias' family was reportedly expelled from INC.

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HIDDEN AGENDA

In their defense, the religious group's spokesman Edwil Zabala told reporters, "Kahit hindi siya kapatid sa laman, masasaktan ang isang kaanib kung may paratang na ganyan. Wala po kaming ginagawang masama." He also refuted Isaias' claims of illegal detention and corruption, saying that some members may have ulterior motives.


WHAT THE GOVERMENT IS DOING

The authorities have also entered the scene, with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima appointing the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the supposed missing INC ministers, some of whom were identified as Boyet Menorca (of Sorsogon), Joven Sepillo (Tacloban), and Nolan Olarte (Cebu), among others.


So, who do you think is at fault, and who is telling the truth? #Abangan

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