Malacañang is playing it safe on the latest development on the case against several officials of the powerful religious sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte on Saturday, October 24, refused to comment on the Supreme Court’s (SC) issuance of writs of amparo and habeas corpus against INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo and other high-ranking ministers urging them to produce their fellow ministers who were allegedly abducted.
“Sorry, I cannot comment yet on that particular aspect because I have not read the issuance of the Supreme Court. So, in that sense, we would just like to defer comment on that,” Valte said.
The Palace spokesperson was asked whether the high court’s decision could be considered as “vindication” on the part of former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who insisted of conducting a probe into the alleged abduction of INC ministers despite receiving so much flak from the influential religious group.
Valte, meanwhile, assured that “due process will take place” despite the resignation of de Lima, who is eyeing a senatorial post in the 2016 elections.
“Kung ano lang ‘yung nandoon sa batas, ‘yon ang maibibigay,” she added.
The INC officials were asked to appear before the Court of Appeals on November 3.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by petitioner Anthony Menorca and Jungko Otsuka.
Menorca’s brother Lowell Menorca and wife Jinky, who is the twin sister of Otsuka, were allegedly detained at the INC central office in Quezon City.
Hours after the issuance of the SC order, a video of Lowell surfaced wherein he confirmed that he and his family were abducted by the INC officials.
He also revealed that his statements in his previous interviews were “all lies” and “scripted” and he was just forced to do it by the INC leadership.
He said he would reveal the details about his abduction in a press conference next week.
Trixie Cruz-Angeles, Lowell family’s lawyer, said the case for the issuance of writ of amparo will proceed, as it will provide further protection for his family.