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Anyone who is in tune with the latest rally led by Philippine religion group Iglesia ni Cristo is bound to shake their heads in confusion as to why they’re rallying in front of the main office of the Philippine Department of Justice.

A common argument of those from the religion: “Section 4: The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”

Because of the complaint filed by Isaias Samson Jr, former editor of INC’s official publication “Pasugo,” against the religion’s Internal Council for Illegal Detention, the religious group, through their followers, picketed at the main office of DOJ, claiming that the so-called “Illegal Detention” is an internal issue and should not be meddled with by the government.

Those sympathetic of the religious group claim that there are alleged falsehoods said by the accused and that the threats against them are “fabricated.”

Whether Samson Jr. or the Iglesia is at fault, what the protesters and maybe the religious organization itself are forgetting, however, is that like all of them Filipinos, they are subject to the rules and laws of the Republic of the Philippines, and that Church and State separation does not give them the right to ignore or bypass the laws of the land.

And that includes due process, or the reality of proving and disproving allegations, especially in a court of law.

Otherwise, certain corrupt Catholic priests and other shady religious groups may invoke the Separation clause to shoo away allegations for crimes they commit, claiming it is an internal affair that must not be meddled with.

Lots of entries in the constitution decree law and order for ALL irrespective of Religion.

Article 2 Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

Article 2 Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

Article 2 Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service.

Article 3 Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Article 3 Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

To deny the first three is to simply cherrypick and twist interpretations of the constitution. The accused is a Filipino, and of course, the complainant IS a Filipino. If what Samson Jr. alleges is false, the group will be vindicated by the law itself. Or are they afraid manipulative forces will corrupt the interpretation and vilify them, like how they have once manipulated government actions through officials that are Iglesia ni Cristo members?

Instances where government officials that are members of Iglesia ni Cristo made suspicious actions:

1. Atty. Manuel Eduarte, head of the bureau’s Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division announced that the investigation regarding Iglesia ni Cristo abduction was closed immediately. However, he belongs to a different department and thus has no authority to speak over the matter. As a result, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima terminated him and had him investigated for his conduct.

A check into records show that Eduarte is a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo, according to a blog expose.

2. Reynaldo Wycoco, the late NBI Director, who led questionable investigations against archrival Ang Dating Daan, which became among the serious issues in the embattled religious group.

In a related development, the esteemed defenders of criminal human rights steered away from the case, calling it a police matter.

OUR STANCE:

Any Religion that claims a destiny of Hell, punishment and pain upon dissidents and non-believers is an instant indication of it being a sham. It is nothing more than a threat clause. Religion and spirituality is an intimate personal connection with the universe and the Powers That Be, and should not be dictated upon for as long as they maintain being productive members of society and not become a menace.

Because even nefarious religions like, of all things, Satanism, has its own standards that are surprisingly cordial and social to those outside their circles. Heaven-aligned religions are expected to also see tolerance, coexistence and amicability to others as well.

Religious identity do not give one a license to be above the law. Every person identifying themselves with a religion should know this fact very well, even if their opinion over the current government is less-than-satisfactory.

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