Police recover weaponry inside INC compound, but who's liable?
The police raid the house of Angel Manalo on March 2 but recover massive weaponry from the Iglesia compound only 6 days later
MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) presented to the media on Thursday, March 9, recovered weapons from the contested Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) compound in Quezon City.
The police said they found 73 firearms, 89 grenades, and more than 17,000 live ammunitions inside the contested 36 Tandang Sora in Quezon City on Wednesday, March 8.
The police stopped short of saying which direction the investigation will head – in the direction of dismissed INC member Felix Nathaniel "Angel" Manalo who was arrested March 2, or the INC as an institution which has an ownership claim on the compound. Angel is the younger brother of Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.
NCRPO Director Oscar Albayalde, however, said he does not believe the weaponry belong to the INC.
"INC claims they own the place but they are not staying there so how could they amass these firearms? Hindi nila (INC) alam kung ano ang pinasok do'n over the years, kaya nila tayo binigyan ng explicit permission, para malinis na rin 'yung property of anything illegal otherwise macha-charge sila, otherwise hindi naman nila 'yan ipapa-clear kung alam nila na may ganyan karami," Albayalde said on Thursday.
(INC claims they own the place but they are not staying there so how could they amass these firearms? The INC does not know what have been brought inside the compound over the years, that's why they gave us explicit permission to clean the property of anything illegal otherwise they would be charged. They would not have allowed us to clear it if they knew there were that many weapons inside.)
Charges against Manalo
One thing is clear at this point: Angel Manalo will face non-bailable charges of illegal possession of firearms based on the recommendation of the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office. (READ: WATCH: Angel Manalo speaks to supporters after arrest)
Manalo will be charged for the 6 firearms recovered on March 2 in his house inside the compound. The no-bail recommendation, according to the police, was based on Manalo's admission during the preliminary investigation that he owns the house.
His nephew Victor Eraño Manalo-Hemedez will be similary charged but with bail, while another occupant of the house, Jonathan Ledesma, will be charged for direct assault with frustrated murder for allegedly shooting two cops during the March 2 raid.
The question is: why were the cops unable to recover the entire weaponry on March 2 when they already had the search warrant? Albayalde explained that it was not covered by the warrant.