- Lowell Menorca II claims the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is the culprit behind his arrest
- Menorca claims the INC wants to prevent him from being cross-examined
- The former INC member says arrest proves he needs “lifetime protection” from INC
Lowell Menorca II points to the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) as the culprit behind his arrest. Menorca claims the sect does not want him to testify before the Court of Appeals (CA). He added that the INC wants to prevent him from appearing before the CA so that all his testimony will be stricken off the court records.
“They don’t want me to testify at the Court of Appeals because once I cannot appear all my testimony will be stricken off the record,” Menorca said.
According to a story on GMA News, Menorca was a******d in broad daylight by policemen in plainclothes led by an officer who is a member of INC. The arrest was allegedly prompted by a warrant in connection with a libel charge filed by INC members in a court in Lanao del Norte province.
Menorca was on his way to the CA for the scheduled cross-examination, which he consequently missed, when the arrest happened.
“This is really a delaying tactic,” Menorca said. “If I don’t attend the hearing today, there’s a chance my testimony would be junked,” he added.
Atty. Trixie Angeles, Menorca’s lawyer, expressed the same sentiment.
“His testimony has already been reduced into a judicial affidavit. In this way, he is somehow protected. But this affidavit will be nothing if he’s not cross-examined. So the cross is essential for it to be submitted as evidence. Of course we are worried every time there is a delay in cross examining Mr. Menorca,” she said.
The former INC member claims the arrest is proof that he needs “lifetime protection” from INC, as stated by an article by Aie Balagtas See, Tarra Quismundo and Nancy C. Carvajal of Inquirer.
Angeles also said the incident emphasized the need for the court to immediately grant the amparo petition, which Menorca’s relatives has filed in the Supreme Court in October last year while they were still supposedly detained by INC leaders.
The SC ordered the INC leadership to produce the Menorcas in court on the same day they managed to escape the alleged detention. The high court then remanded the case to the CA to assume proceedings on the amparo petition.
“We can’t tell the court what to do or what to think or how to interpret these events. We interpret it for ourselves that we are certainly very worried and, therefore, our interest in pushing for amparo becomes an imperative,” Angeles said.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon a day before his arrest, Menorca revealed an alleged plan of the church leadership to put him behind bars and silence him.
“Intimidation, harassment. They want to stop me from saying the truth,” Menorca said. “Imagine I have a libel case daw, all the way from Mindanao, places I haven’t been to.”