De Lima in meeting; Aquino asked on deal
MANILA—Justice Secretary Leila de Lima remained mum on the demands made by the Iglesia ni Cristo and the alleged agreement that the sect’s leaders reportedly reached with Malacañang yesterday.
She was seen in a photo provided by Malacañang attending a meeting with President Aquino and other Cabinet members on Sunday night.
The Secretary used to answer reporters’ queries or comments through text messages during weekends, but she did not reply to any over the weekend.
Her last known reply was “Thank you” to a TV reporter who informed her Friday night that she has become a trending topic in social media.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said yesterday that no prosecutor has been assigned yet to the cases filed by expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. and his family against members of the Sanggunian, the sect’s highest administrative body.
Aside from Samson, a former member, Lito Fruto, also lodged last Wednesday a complaint against the INC council members.
Fruto accused the council of allegedly ordering his arrest on a false charge when he tried to help members of the Manalo family who were ordered expelled by the INC leadership.
Expressing fears of a whitewash, Samson’s lawyers Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan, in a statement, called on President Aquino and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to disclose the alleged agreement to the public.
“What is the nature of this agreement? What are its conditions and terms? It is our client who had unintentionally set off these events by filing his case, yet somehow we have not been included in this so-called agreement. Assuming of course there is one,” they said.
The two lawyers also said they wanted the government to assure Samson and his family that their complaint would be given due process and treated fairly.
The lawyers warned that the non-disclosure of the alleged agreement and the secret talks that led to it might also hurt the government’s credibility in resolving the cases filed by Samson.
Angeles and Paglinawan also said they were not surprised that INC leaders were very vocal about the understanding reached with the government.
“The idea is to make the public feel that they had flexed their muscle and the government has responded in a manner favorable to them,” they said./Inquirer
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