et’s touch on expulsions which has become quite common these days, in fact almost as if we anticipate it coming after every worship service and it wouldn’t be complete without it. If the circular starts with, “The Office of the Executive Minister …” chances are you have one family who made the oversight of uttering the three letter word, “Why?”.
Actually I also made that mistake a few months ago. I posted on my real FB account some words of encouragement to a close friend who fell grace from the Administration. The only time I made such a comment. This only proves that not only the defenders are being monitored but all of the members particularly the Officers or Maytungkulin. In short I was asked, or more appropriately, instructed to execute a salaysay of my loyalty to the present Administration and that I would not side with those commenting against the Administration. Initially I was deeply insulted but after giving it much thought, what the hell, I made that salaysay and asked our Pastor if I needed to take a picture with the OWE sign and T-Shirt to boot, or if they wanted me to have the thumbmark tatooed on my forearm. They must have sensed my sarcasm and irritation so much so that they assured me while reading my salaysay, “Ok na po ito Ka ****, ok na po ito.” I have deactivated my FB account since then.
Going back to the Pagtitiwalag issue. Here is the formal process that anyone will have to go through before being expelled.
First, there will have to be a written report or salaysay from the accuser whoever that may be on the violation supposedly committed by the respondent. No verbal accusation is honored here, it has to be written and signed by the accuser. The report is usually addressed to the Pastor, Katiwala ng Purok or Grupo. (So, in short if there is no written report, there is no violation. I guess this explains why Jun Santos’ or his children, or even Tumanan’s children continue to remain favored in this Administration)
Next, the respondent is confronted in the presence of the accuser to ascertain if the report is accurate. If the respondent denies the accusation, the inquiry extends with additional witnesses to prove or disprove the allegations. This process is handled by the Pastor and Pamunan of the locale. All additional witnesses submit their salaysay on the issue.
After everything is considered, evaluation is conducted with the Katiwala ng Grupo where the respondent is a member, the Katiwala ng Purok, the five Pamunuan, and the Pastor. They make the final evaluation, conclusion, and recommendation to the District Office. The final letter of recommendation is prepared and signed by the Pastor, 5 Pamunuan, and the Kalihim ng Lokal.
That basically concludes the process. But if that is the process, how was this “express expulsion” conducted? I’ll confide to you something not many are aware of. Would you believe if I tell you that all those express expulsions if you check with the locale, you’ll find that all the paper works are in order? How could that be? Well, its like this. There is such a thing as “documents to follow”. The expulsion is immediate as advised by the District or Central Office and the Expulsion Circular is read in all the locales concerned. Then, the District Office instructs the corresponding locale to prepare all the documents related to the case including the final recommendation for expulsion signed by the Pastor, 5 Pamunuan, and Kalihim ng Lokal with dates retroactive. So in effect, the District Office or Central Office free themselves from any liability as the recommendation duly signed by the corresponding parties came from their local chapters. For fear of being disfavored by the Administration, the Pamunuan sign the letters of recommendation together with the Kalihim ng Lokal confirming the legality of the expulsion. As the saying goes,“Ginigisa sa sariling mantika”.
So what is real now in the Church we hold dear? Is it still sacred as we were taught to be? Where is the love, the compassion that separated it from the rest of the Churches in this world?
I remember a time during the evaluation of one former deaconess let’s call her Ka Menang, accused of “living-In”. She is already in her late 80s, a widower to a former deacon living off a pension. It so happened that she came close to another widow Ka Romy, also in his late 80s, after the death of her husband. Both had no children. Ka Romy was indoctrinated and became a member of the Church. And since both were childless they decided to live together in a small make-shift house in a squatters area. We advised them to get married first but Ka Menang was reluctant because she would then be deprived of her monthly pension – the only means of livelihood available for them. So during the evaluation of her case it came to a point should we recommend her for expulsion for “living-in” which is a violation of Church procedure.
I asked my co PDs, “Ano gagawin natin, patitiwalag ba natin sila? Ano bang kinatatakot natin? Ano, baka mabuntis? Ilan taon pa ba ang nalalabi nila sa mundo sa tingin nyo? Baka mauna pa ang lapida nila bago bumaba ang disisyon ng Distrito sa tiwalag nila. Mahalay ba ang pagsasama nila sa paningin nyo? Kung ako ang tanungin ninyo, baka hindi ko masikmura tignan silang hubad.” Of course this was a closed door discussion. But to me, I would rather just let them be. With no children of their own and the remaining happiness being experienced by the two for the remaining few years of their lives, I believed we had no right to take that away. In ending, I said to my co PDs, “Pabayaan natin Diyos ang mamroblema sa kanila, huwag na tayo.”