A lawyer for the expelled siblings of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) executive minister Eduardo Manalo said she and her companions were attacked by masked guards at a disputed compound in Quezon City on Tuesday evening, just when they were about to respond to occupants’ request for assistance.
Lawyer Trixie Cruz Angeles told INQUIRER.net that police officers from the Quezon City Police District station 3 just watched as they were being hit by masked men at No. 36, Tandang Sora Avenue around 8 p.m.
“On the ground we were hit repeatedly. My companions were handcuffed as they were being hit so they could do little to defend themselves. All this happened in front of police officers of QCPD station three,” Angeles said in a text message on Wednesday.
“We are most disappointed with the PNP (Philippine National Police), in particular station 3 QCPD. The incident happened right in front of them. But they did nothing,” she added.
INQUIRER.net sought the side of QCPD public information office chief Titoy Cuden for comment, but he said he would still look into the matter.
Angeles earlier said food and water deliveries for the property’s occupants—led by her clients, siblings Angel Manalo and Lottie Manalo-Hemedez—were stopped by INC-posted guards.
The Tandang Sora compound housed the religious sect’s founding family since 1970s, but an internal dispute that went public in July last year led to a legal tussle over ownership. Citing security reasons, the INC then asked a Quezon City court to bar visitors to the property.
Last month, a Manila court has ordered the expelled Manalo siblings to immediately vacate the compound and yield the property to the church. The Manalo siblings have been holed up in the property after being expelled in July 2015, following the circulation of an online video showing Angel and their mother pleading for help.
Lawyer Ahmedy Paglinawan, Angeles’ law partner, said Angeles, one female office staff, and two other male companions were “ganged upon” by INC guards “while police officers from station 3 QC watched on.”
Paglinawan said the attack happened when Angeles approached the property’s gate “to ask for a copy of the court order which the attackers were purportedly attempting to serve.”
INC spokesperson Bro. Edwil Zabala told INQUIRER.net that the court order was a favorable decision from Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96 over a replevin case or an action for restoration of ownership of INC cars inside the compound.
“We received a favorable order granting our replevin case for INC cars still inside. As far as I know, the RTC handed the order to the sheriff and we cooperated with him,” Zabala said in a text message.
“As for the other matter, I’m sure that Attorney Angeles knows the legal remedies available to someone claiming to be involved in such an incident,” he added.
Angeles said she was still under observation after being brought to the East Avenue Medical Center for treatment and checkup.
“I am as well as can be expected, though very very sore and the pain killers are making me groggy. The residents of 36 Tandang Sora, however, are not well. Their ordeal is not over. Atty. Ahmed and I are doing what we can,” she said.