INC denies boycott order on TV network

2 years ago

INC denies boycott order on TV network

The headquarters of the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo on Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Did the Christian sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) order its members to boycott some local news organizations?

Several posts on social media claimed that INC’s Templo Central had directed its members not to watch any program aired by broadcast giant ABS-CBN because the network tarnished the sect’s image through its news reports.

The network was among several local news organizations that extensively covered the controversial arrest of former INC minister Lowell Menorca on Jan. 20 on libel charges filed in Marawi City by an INC-affiliated group. Menorca, who earlier claimed that he was abducted from Bulan, Sorsogon, on orders of INC leaders, was on his way to court to testify on the writ of habeas corpus and amparo he had filed against the sect when plainclothes policemen intercepted and arrested him.

The policemen did not show any identification or warrant of arrest, Menorca said of the incident that was videotaped by his wife and shown repeatedly on TV news reports.

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In a Facebook post on Jan. 26, a certain Israel Nono Ponce said INC had directed its followers to refrain from watching ABS-CBN shows. Ponce posted that he was a regular viewer of the teleserye, “Ang Probinsyano,” that stars Coco Martin, but that “a true INC follower knows how to deny himself [of certain things] and will put the order or appeal of the leadership first because he knows that it is for the general good.”

 ‘False reports’

He said an advisory had come from INC’s Templo Central, asking members “not to watch any program on ABS-CBN News because the station was one of those tarnishing the name of the church … since its management was imputing bad things meant to ruin the unity of INC.”

Ponce’s post, which had gathered more than 8,000 likes, 1,200 comments and 2,900 shares as of this writing, also showed the ABS-CBN logo and a verse that read: “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.”

In a separate article, a certain Lennie Lazaro of, said her sister, an INC deaconess in San Pablo City, Laguna province, had confirmed the order to boycott ABS-CBN News, with the order given after a regular worship service.

Quoting her sister, Lazaro wrote that “members caught watching ABS-CBN will suffer disciplinary action.”

But in a phone interview, INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala denied the order, saying no written directive had been issued or read by the church leadership and its ministers.

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“Walang circular na binasa sa pagsamba ukol sa issue na ’yan (No circular was read during the worship about that issue),” Zabala told

But Zabala said he “personally understands” the sentiments of INC members who posted such remarks on social media.

A Twitter post by a certain Dexter Duran, also showed the logos of ABS-CBN, Rappler and and carried the same scriptural verse from Ponce’s post, but translated in Tagalog: “Huwag kayong gagawa ng anumang pahayag na walang katotohanan. Huwag kayong magsinungaling para lamang tulungan ang isang taong may kasalanan. (Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness).”

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