Chris Brown promoter slams INC ‘oppression, contractual bad faith’
After being detained in the country for almost two weeks now, the promoter of Chris Brown on Thursday slammed religious sect Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), which owned the private company that filed an estafa complaint against the American singer’s camp.
Fortun and Santos Law Offices, legal counsel of Brown’s promoter John Michael Pio Roda, accused an immigration official who happened to be an INC member of continuously oppressing their client.
“Despite the fact that his passport has been confiscated thus negating the risk of him leaving the country, the INC company, through the active involvement of an INC member who happens to be the acting head of the legal division of the Bureau of Immigration, continues to oppress Mr. Pio Roda’s right to bail even as the criminal complaint against him and Chris Brown is pending before the Department of Justice (DOJ),” the law firm said in a statement, referring to a certain Atty. Cris Villalobos.
Pio Roda and Brown were slapped with a $1-million estafa complaint by the INC-owned Maligaya Development Corp. (MDC), the overall administration of Ciudad de Victoria in Bulacan, the site of Philippine Arena where the American singer was supposed to perform on Dec. 31, 2014.
The two were barred from leaving the Philippines following Brown’s July 21 concert at SM Mall of Asia Arena after being put on immigration watch list as requested by MDC, in connection with the cancelled New Year’s Eve show. Brown has been able to secure a clearance and leave the country, while Pio Roda is still being held at a detention center in Taguig City.
The law firm said it would file a request for Villalobos to be inhibited from handling the immigration proceedings against their client.
“In due time, he (Pio Roda) will execute and sign the appropriate legal document that will detail the true facts, bely the lies made public by the representatives of this INC company, and expose the contractual bad faith and possible corruption activities of certain members of this religious sect,” the statement read.
Noting that Pio Roda would “strongly and forcefully defend his innocence,” the firm denied that he received $1 million from any INC company.
“Documents will establish that Mr. Pio Roda only received $45,000 from complainant MDC, while Chris Brown was directly paid $350,000. Mr. Pio Roda likewise received a total amount of $228,750, but this was paid by J. Williams Management Group Inc. and not by complainant MDC, while Chris Brown again received directly $350,000,” the firm said.
“To hold Mr. Pio Roda accountable for the entire $1 million by MDC or the INC is not only without legal or factual basis but is a travesty of justice and a continued violation of human rights,” it added.
The firm said MDC was informed that Brown lost his passport “as early as 30th December 2014,” noting that “earnest efforts” have been made between January and July 2015 in order to reimburse the INC company for the money it paid for the New Year’s Eve show.
It added that MDC refused Roda’s “compromise” of chartering a private plane to bring Brown to Manila as soon as a passport replacement had been made.
“Mr. Pio Roda asks for prayers from the public for strength to overcome the oppression he is experiencing at the hands of certain members of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and that the DOJ prosecution panel be granted the wisdom and impartiality to see the true facts so that he could regain his liberty at the soonest time,” it added.
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