I have been reading online about the Maligaya Development Corporation and the Philippine Arena. Probably like many of you, it does make you wonder if these stories we are reading about are real. As I said from the beginning, I am not one of the Defenders attending or holding those online meetings. Just like the rest of you, I am curious about all the things happening in the Church. I am not like A.E. with all these mind blowing evidence of corruption. Most of the things I write are what we have learned over the years in the church, from the internet and asking common sense questions. I am probably not going to reveal anything new or find deep dark secrets. Anything I say here have probably been said by someone already, but I just want to write down my thoughts regarding these issues. So let’s browse together at what both sides are saying about the Maligaya Development Corporation, or let’s just call it MDC for short.
Let’s start with one of the main things – the Philippine Arena. The wikipedia, states that it was built for 9.4 Billion Philippine Pesos or $2.13 U.S. Dollars and the operator is Maligaya Development Corporation. According to the “new information” of Sher Lock on Facebook, that MDC is the one that owes Banco de Oro the 2 Million Dollars. Hmm… let’s try to figure this out with an open mind. For now, let’s read this…
Brother Marlex Cantor, an INC minister and God’s Message writer shared a blog that said that MDC runs the Philippine Arena because the INC is not a business and does not run the operations like cleaning and repairing, the everyday maintenance of the Phil. Arena. So the MDC manages it. Pretty much, he is saying that this way the INC is not involved in the business side of the Arena – such as we have seen when having to deal with the acts like Chris Brown and all the complexities of hiring him, then pursuing legal action against him after he failed to show for the January 2015 concert. You can read all over the internet that it was MDC that dealt with it.
The blog also stated that the “profits do not go to the Church but to the New Era”. (I am not familiar with just that term, New Era. Does that mean the New Era University and New Era Hospital earnings go to the exact same funds as Philippine Arena?) So wouldn’t that mean that the earnings from the Arena are going to the Church? So are we making profits? And at the bottom part there, it says ‘we hired an outside legal entity’ – meaning the MDC. The MDC stockholders are lawyers, businessmen and engineers but not owned by the INC. Ok, got it.
Let me get this straight. The Church owns the Arena. MDC runs it, they have the discretion to show whatever they want and they do not keep the profits? It goes to New Era and NOT the Church? Okay… I see.
But before I continue, I just want to clarify something. I know Brother Marlex pointed out that the New Era Hospital and New Era University also makes money. But the Hospital was built so brethren had a place to go that was inexpensive. The school was built so brethren had a place to send their children where they would not be persecuted for our faith and also inexpensive. Is that also the same for the Arena? Is it also inexpensive? Because I don’t remember paying for anything when we used to go to Arena Coliseum or Cuneta Astrodome. Now that we have “our own” Arena, why is it now we are paying to see events?
Anyway, next paragraph – whatever properties of the INC is not owned by the MDC, especially the Philippine Arena. The MDC is a business which is why they can get loans if they need it and the INC cannot be the source of their collateral. Ok.. I think I got that. Keep this in mind. We’re need to come back to this later.
Now I am just a simple guy. I don’t work for Corporate. I don’t have a Business degree from Wharton or law degree from Harvard, so just allow me to ask silly questions, which someone may have already answered. I’m trying to be neutral here. But one question is, is the MDC a real company? I searched online for any information and this is one of the things I got from the ERC website, or the Energy Regulatory Commission of the Philippines. It has the COC number (no, it doesn’t mean Church of Christ, silly) #05-08-GXT-11619-11638. I believe it is the Chamber of Commerce (anyone please correct me if I am wrong), meaning it is a registered business with the COC.
Now here is where it gets a more interesting…
The contact person for MDC is Attorney Restituto S. Lazaro. But isn’t he the INC lawyer? Here is his name listed as a Director for the FYM foundation.
Bear with me, like I said, I am not business major, so he is both Attorney for both the INC and MDC? Ok. I’ll go along with that, I think. But we just read that MDC is a separate entity that is for business and the INC does not conduct business. Wouldn’t that be conflict of interest if he worked for both?
But here is also an odd thing. The fax number on there is 981-4333. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that the Central Office’s fax line? So it begs the question, is MDC a real company? Why would a company like MDC that the INC trusts to take care of the Billion Peso property do not have their own lawyer or their own fax line?
If anyone is interested (maybe you want to conduct business with them), here is their physical address: 430 E. Rodriguez Senior Avenue, Quezon City, 1100, Metro Manila. Or is it this address? 5 Allan Bean, Quezon City, 1100, Metro Manila. This is listed on the Philippines Ypages. But the services listed as: Wholesales (wait, what?)
Does MDC work with other companies? What is the history of the MDC? I ask this because why would the INC entrust the million dollar Arena to some unknown company? Now, it seems that MDC runs all these events, from Chris Brown to Katy Perry to Kpop stars to Guinness breaking fireworks display.
But if this is really a regular business, why is it shrouded in mystery? Don’t you want to promote a business to gain more clients, more business? Shouldn’t you be advertising that your biggest client is the Philippine Arena? A multi-million dollar project? Yet, try finding information on it. Very scarce as if they do not want to be found. What kind of business does not want to be found? And yet, it is good enough for the INC. I ask if it is a real business also because for a company to obtain an P9 Billion loan, they must have some serious COLLATERAL. Banco de Oro or Metro Bank will not just spit out millions of Dollars to some newbie company or some no name group. They must have some heavy hitters to obtain that loan.
That brings me back to the question, is it a real company? Or is it really a “dummy corporation” of the Iglesia Ni Cristo? For clarification, a “dummy corporation, or shell corporation” is as follows:
A dummy corporation, otherwise known as a dummy company, is one which appears to be an actual company. However, it is primarily established for the purpose of concealing one or more companies. As such, it is not capable of operating on its own.
Aside from concealment of the true identities of real companies, dummy corporations also function to aid them in avoiding taxes. By creating such entities, companies may be able to mislead the public regarding their actual financial condition.
Dummy corporations may also be created due to political reasons. If, for example, a company intends to embark on a specific financial strategy but has reason to believe that other entities might block such developments, it may deflect attention from itself by letting the dummy corporation act covertly on its behalf.
In certain situations, special interest or cause-oriented organizations may also set up dummy corporations in order to advance their cause. Governments can also engage in such activities, either for intelligence gathering or to advance an economic objective.
The term “dummy corporation” is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “shell corporation.” However, a shell corporation is, more specifically, one which facilitates transactions even though it does not have its own assets. Such corporations usually flourish in the underground economy, but they are not illegal by nature. Shell corporations are also created for tax avoidance purposes. By buying or selling assets through a shell corporation, usually one based in a tax haven, a company may be able to avoid paying taxes. Such transactions are not included in financial reports of the actual company.
But if MDC was simply created for tax avoidance, that would not make sense since the INC does not have to pay taxes since it is a religion, right?. So what is the purpose of creating the Dummy corporation aside from “hiding the actual financial condition”?
This is something I find immensely interesting:
This same magic mystical Maligaya is also listed in none other than SCENIC SOUTH DAKOTA, file number DB05933. Filed by the Scenic Head Deacon brother Fred White last August 29, 2014. Why is the Maligaya there also? This is the town that has a population of less than 60. There are less than 15 INC members registered in the locale with over 90% of them NOT living in Scenic. Why would Maligaya suddenly be registered there? It is basically a ghost town. This is not fantasy. This is simple surfing of the internet. The question is what are the reasons? That is where the mystery lies. Yet, 2 years after registration, what has emerged there? NOTHING.
All these questions I am raising is simply because of the connection of the MDC to the INC and the bank loans. Remember what the blog stated? The blog that both Brother Tumanan and Brother Cantor quoted – “The MDC is a business which is why they can get loans if they need it.” But if the MDC really belongs to the INC, then technically it is also the Iglesia Ni Cristo that is conducting business. The business of promoting acts, buying and selling and whatever else it wants to reach into. As the saying goes; “if it looks like a fish, swims like a fish and smells like a fish – then it is a fish”. And something is indeed fishy here.
Can it still be denied that MDC does not belong to the INC? Sure they can. I try to be neutral but the truth of the matter is, there would be no Maligaya if it was not for the INC. MDC only began, according to the Company information registered in the Scenic website, around January 2013. And now, on record, technically, it is the MDC with the loans. But the reality is, it is the Iglesia Ni Cristo that now bear the loans. We may choose to not believe it. We may choose to ignore it. And the INC is not broke. The offerings continue to come in. Whatever it is we will choose to believe, there is such a thing as Maligaya and that we can pretend that the INC is not into business. We are. We can pretend there are no loans. There are.
Probably everything could have gone smoothly. The loans could have been obtained and paid off if everything went as they had planned. But don’t you remember that things started becoming more and more strange as the Centennial approached? There were not one but two super Special Offerings for the Centennial? One, as early as May 4 & 5 of 2013! These, of course, were separate from the Special offerings we would give on the actual Centennial. Imagine, all those offerings would have easily covered all the expenses for the Centennial and the ballooning costs that the Arena was incurring (which was growing beyond what was expected – it’s called change orders in construction terms)
Except God showed He was not pleased with all this. Perhaps no one realized it. After the contracts were signed, Maligaya appeared, loans were obtained and the Arena construction began, God stretched forth His hand and showed His displeasure. HOW? WHEN? Don’t you remember this…
“Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,300 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall. In January 2014, bodies were still being found.” (courtesy of Wikipedia)
That certainly affected the INC plans and budget. So what happened after Yolanda? Don’t you remember? The World Wide Walk. Why did we have to conduct such an immense charity event? Because the funds were locked and focused on the Arena and Centennial. And from there, things worsened. The Church has been trying to recover ever since. We were never meant to get involved with business. We are a non-profit organization. And we certainly should not be owing money. You know this…
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
But why should we be opposed to the Church getting involved in business? The Lord Jesus said:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
And if there are those who are dishonest with money, Jesus went on to say:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?
I’m sure someone will try to prove me wrong. Someone will stand and say MDC is real and that they are employees or whatever. But simply look at the timeline. A company that emerged just in time for the Arena and the Centennial as well as all the merchandising and all the planned money making events to follow. It’s right there before our very eyes.
But tell us, was the Chris Brown concert lucrative? Was the Katy Perry concert turn a profit? They know the answers. How about this year? Where are the events? It is already March. What is in store for the rest of 2016? I am also asking because I looked at the Philippine Arena website for upcoming events (http://philippinearena.net/events/month/) and I see nothing. Maybe someone is realizing that the Arena and all the business that goes with it is something God does not want.
Think about it. Look at the signs. Look at the facts. Think for yourself before you raise your INC flag and thumb mark. Please read and re-read carefully. It is there. Just open your eyes. Research for yourself.