Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) staged a demonstration outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to protest DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima’s alleged meddling in the religious group’s internal affairs.
The protesters, who were in hundreds, also blocked de Lima’s convoy which was about to leave the DOJ premises following the DOJ chief’s 56th birthday celebration.
A stage was also set in front the DOJ in the evening, as protesters rendered Padre Faura St. impassable.
Reports said de Lima was able to exit the DOJ compound through an alternative exit.
Rappler reported that many of the INC protesters carried placards saying de Lima could not tell the difference between the government and the INC.
The DOJ is tackling a complaint filed by Isaias Samson Jr., expelled minister of INC, who accused eight leaders of the religious organization of illegal detention.
“Sila ang unang nagtulak sa amin doon sa ginawa nilang kung tawagin ay house arrest at pagkatapos nang kami ay makatakas ay tinutugis pa kami. Ginagamit nila pati mga pulis,” Samson said in a report, adding that he was accused of publishing a blog that is critical of the Iglesia.
The INC protest, which secured a permit from the Manila City government, was timed to coincide with the Justice Secretary’s birthday celebration and her announcement of political plans for 2016.
De Lima hinted that she will run for senator in next year’s elections.
“I think what you and I have done is to get from point A to point B. We have yet to get from point J to point S, and if you ask me, I think it’s time you and I bring this journey to the next level, to a higher level, to the next higher level like from point J to point S,” De Lima said.
De Lima already joined President Aquino and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in the gathering of Liberal Party and allies in Cebu earlier this week.