Today, July 27, 2015, marks the 101st anniversary of the Church. By all rights, we should be proud, especially if one were to recall the early days of the Church in the Philippines, the persecution and ridicule endured by God's Last Messenger and the early members.
But like some of you, I am not in a celebratory mood. How can I be, when at least 10 ministers and family members are still missing? When for pleading for their personal safety and reaching out to the brethren, Bro. Angel Manalo, son of our late Executive Minister, Bro, Erano G. Manalo, was expelled? When an elderly and sick mother's plea for a dialogue with her son, the current Executive Minister, whom she has not spoken to in years, resulted in her expulsion? I am, of course, referring to Sis. Tenny Manalo, widow of Bro. Erano, loved by many, a wife who stood by her husband in serving the Church for 46 long years. Even Sis. Lottie Manalo Hemedez and Bro. Marc Manalo, daughter and son, respectively, of Ka Erano, who were not even in the video released to the media, were likewise expelled. That's four members of Bro. Erano's family, expelled, days before the end of the Church's centennial year!
To readers of this blog who are not of our faith, let me take a moment to explain. For an Iglesia ni Cristo member, expulsion is tantamount to the handing of a death sentence. There is no punishment worse than for a member's name to be stricken out of the Church roster. That is why expulsion is not handed down lightly. There is a long documented process which sometimes takes years, before this punishment is authorized, and this, only after all options have been exhausted. Sadly, in recent times, this long standing policy has been ignored at the whim of the powerful Sanggunian.
In another example of this express-style expulsion, Bro. Erano's widow and three children were expelled the day following release of the video. The announcement, with orders to read worldwide during weekday and weekend worship services, was signed by none other than the General Secretary of the Church, the corrupt-to-the-bone Radel Cortez, an unknown during the time of Ka Erano, and only risen to power during the time of the current Administration. If this is not the height of hypocrisy, I don't know what is.
In the meantime, a senior-level minister, Bro. Isaias Samson Jr., editor-in-chief of Pasugo and Secretary of Foreign Mission before then, son of pioneer minister, Isaias Sr., was expelled along with his family, after escaping a weeklong interrogation and house arrest (illegal detention) by the Sanggunian. He spoke to the media of their ordeal and the corruption of members of the Sanggunian, in particular, of Glicerio B. Santos Jr. (JS) and his family.
Other ministers have started to come out and talk to the media -- faithful ministers who are loyal to the Church and not to men, who could no longer stomach serving under corrupt Sanggunian members. For their courage, they were "rewarded" with expulsion. Inspite of this, more ministers are still coming out.
Former ministers who have been expelled in the past for reporting knowledge of corruption to the Church Administration, have likewise spoken to the media, even presenting evidence of corruption.
Note that not one of these ministers spoke against our current Executive Minister, Bro. Eduardo Manalo. Yet, they all met the same fate - expulsion.
Never in the history of the Church has this ever happened where ministers and members had to resort to the media to appeal to the Executive Minister. When no other avenue is available, when all routes leading to the Executive Minister are blocked by the Sanggunian (even to his own family members), when backs are pressed against the wall, what else is one supposed to do?
Can anyone tell me -- what exactly is wrong with telling the truth? As ministers, that is what we preach. And yet, these ministers and brethren who spoke only the truth, were expelled.
To the Sanggunian, this I say -- no matter how hard you try to hide the truth, one thing is certain, IT WILL COME OUT. You can employ everything in your power -- abduction, coercion, illegal detention, grave threats, murder -- to crush the truth and bury it underground but THE TRUTH WILL FIND A WAY TO SURFACE. This is only the beginning. When God's almighty hand finally strikes each one of you down, how will the product of your greed protect you then?
Bro. Eduardo, as our Executive Minister, the solution to all of these problems is in your hands. The Church is in a state of distress. You can end all of these. God is watching over you. You are our spiritual leader. God put you where you are today. He knows your heart and your deeds are all known to Him. Listen to the cries of His servants. Remove the dark clouds that now hover over the Church. Purge the Church by removing the corruption that threatens the stability of the Church. We did not put that corruption there, the Sanggunian did. And you know it. Please do what the Holy Spirit commands you to do. In your heart of hearts, you know what that is.
Brethren, these are tumultuous times for the Church. Remain steadfast and vigilant. Safeguard your faith. Continue to pray for the safety of the missing ministers and their families and to watch over Bro. Erano's family. Pray for the Church as a whole. Pray for the Lord to give the Executive Minister courage and wisdom to do what he must to cleanse the Church. In these difficult times, take comfort in the thought that when the dark clouds finally lift, what will emerge is a Church more glorious and radiant than ever before. God bless us all, brethren!
“They tried to bury us…they didn’t know we were seeds”
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