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INC: WE'RE READY TO DISPROVE EXPELLED MINISTER MENORCA'S KIDNAP ALLEGATIONS


OCTOBER 26 -'KIDNAPPED' Former Iglesia minister Lowell Menorca II, accompanied by his wife, Jinky. ' INQUIRER FILE Iglesia ni Cristo leaders are ready to face in court allegations that they kidnapped and detained expelled minister Lowell Menorca, according to the religious sect’s legal counsel. In a statement on Monday, INC legal counsel Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad said the INC officials have been praying for the “enlightenment” of their former colleague, and have been more concerned with the possible “exploitation of the issue” by certain parties than the cases that Menorca had threatened to file against them. “The officials of the INC are servants of their Church, and their primary concern is the welfare of their members, and this extends even to those who were once part of their flock. That is why even in the face of these allegations, they continue to pray for Mr. Menorca and his family,” Prodigalidad said. In his press conference in Manila last Sunday, Menorca accused members of the INC Sanggunian or the governing council as the ones behind his kidnapping in Bulan, Sorsogon, last July on the suspicion that he was the mysterious blogger who had been exposing and writing about corruption and other anomalies in the church. Meanwhile, Court of Appeals clerk of court Teresita Rigonan-Marigomen said the tribunal’s Seventh Division would hear the petitions for the issuance of the writs of amparo and habeas corpus that were filed by Menorca’s brother and sister-in-law against INC leaders, namely executive minister Eduardo Manalo and Sanggunian members Radel Cortez, Rolando Esguerra and Bienvenido Santos, also the church’s general evangelist. The Seventh Division is chaired by Justice Magdangal de Leon with Justices Elihu Ybañez and Victoria Isabel Paredes as members. Paredes is the assigned ponente or writer of the division’s decision on the case. Last week, the Supreme Court accepted petitions after finding them sufficient in form and substance. The high court also ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct hearings beginning November 3 and decide the case within 10 days after the case is submitted for resolution. Menorca’s lawyer Trixie Angeles said they would eventually file other criminal cases before the lower courts against Sanggunian members, other INC officials and even Quezon City policemen, whom he claimed were involved in the alleged abduction, torture, attempted murder and detention of the ex-minister but she said their priority for now would be the Court of Appeals hearings. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘INC leaders tried to kill me’ - Lowell Menorca


OCTOBER 25 -BIGGER TROUBLE AHEAD Former Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca cries while narrating his ordeal to members of the press. With him is his wife Jinky. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN
Former Iglesia minister: I was illegally detained. Lowell Menorca 2nd, an expelled minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) on Sunday claimed that officials of the religious group ordered him killed in July this year. Menorca, accompanied by his wife Jinky, said he and his family were illegally detained by the INC for three months. Recounting his ordeal to media, the former minister said he and his family were abducted in Bulan, Sorsogon, and taken to Dasmariñas City in Cavite where two attempts on his life were made. He said he was handcuffed for 17 hours during the trip from Sorsogon to Cavite. According to Menorca, he was forced into an empty car and a grenade was tossed inside but it did not explode. A police officer was then sent to finish him off but Menorca said he pleaded for his life. “Sabi ko, please don’t kill me. Maawa ka na sa akin. Ang katunayan po ay ministro ako ng Iglesia ni Cristo at may asawa po ako at isang anak [I told him, have mercy on me. I am a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and I have a wife and a child]. I was already crying. Sabi ko I am not a bad person. Huwag niyo naman po sanang hayaan na lumaki ang anak ko na walang ama [I told him please do not allow my child to grow up without a father],’” Menorca said. He said the policeman took pity on him and agreed not to kill him on condition that criminal charges will be filed against the minister. “He [police officer] said he will let me live if I can promise that I will agree to whatever charge he will give me in prison, and that I will not make a scandal,” Menorca added. Charges of illegal possession of firearms were later filed against the minister in a Cavite court. Menorca, whose petition for a writ of amparo filed in his behalf by his brother was recently granted by the Supreme Court, blamed the INC’s Council of Elders for his torture. He, however, refused to identify them, saying they will be named when he files criminal charges against them in court.
Menorca said his travails started in July when he was ordered to report to the church’s district office for some incursion while officiating a worship service. He was then directed to write a statement accusing the estranged sibling of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo as the person behind several blog posts critical of the INC. READ MORE...PLUS 5 READERS RESPONSES...

ALSO: ‘More INC brass being detained’ - Menorca
[“I cannot divulge right now how many are inside the Central Temple, but they are also in dire need of our help and prayers,” he said. INC leaders denied Menorca’s allegations in a statement Sunday.]


OCTOBER 26 -EXPELLED Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca said Sunday more ministers and their families were being illegally detained like he was inside the church’s Central Temple in Quezon City.
In a press conference, Menorca said he was abducted, threatened, tortured and interrogated, then held with his family for three months in an apartment inside the church’s Central Compound in Quezon City, because they suspected him of creating a blog that exposed corruption in the INC. Ordeal. Former Iglesia Ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca and his wife Seiko Otsuka Menorca recount before reporters at a hotel in Manila their supposed ordeal after they were kidnapped by alleged Iglesia members. Danny Pata “For three months we were there, for three months we were incarcerated. We were never free to go out,” Menorca said, even though they were told that they would be gradually introduced to the outside world and that everything would go back to normal. “I told them I don’t want my child growing up knowing we were prisoners here.”  Menorca denied that he was Antonio Ebangelista, the creator of the blog that detailed anomalies in the church. “I am not Antonio Ebangelista,” Menorca said. “But all of us are Antonio Ebangelistas—all of us who want a cleansing inside the Iglesia.”  Menorca said other victims like him were also in need of help. “I cannot divulge right now how many are inside the Central Temple, but they are also in dire need of our help and prayers,” he said. INC leaders denied Menorca’s allegations in a statement Sunday. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNP to probe ‘kidnap’ of Iglesia minister
[The appellate court is set to hear the case on Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. as earlier set by the SC. The CA division will receive the answers of respondents – including the church’s executive minister Eduardo Manalo and three members of its Sanggunian or governing council – Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago and Rolando Esguerra. Based on the SC writs of habeas corpus and amparo, the CA must also decide on the case within 10 days after hearing all sides of parties.]


OCTOBER 27 -Expelled Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca recounts the ordeal he and his wife, Seiko Otsuka Menorca, went through when they were allegedly kidnapped and held captive for three months, reportedly by INC members, during a press conference at a hotel in Manila on October 25, 2015.
EDD GUMBAN The Philippine National Police (PNP) will investigate allegations by an expelled minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that some members of the Quezon City Police took part in his kidnapping and detention at the religious group’s compound where he reportedly suffered torture and harassment for three months before being rescued last week.
PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez issued the order in the wake of revelations by former INC minister Lowell Menorca II that the INC leadership had him kidnapped and held against his will with the help of some Quezon City policemen who were INC members. “The cleansing in the PNP is a daily activity. We continue to make sure that appropriate actions are instituted, implemented against our people who are involved in any illegal activities… we will coordinate with the complainants, we’ll ask them to substantiate their complaints and allegation,” Marquez told reporters at Camp Crame in Quezon City yesterday. Marquez said illegal activities by any PNP personnel would never be tolerated and would be dealt with severely. “What the PNP is doing is law enforcement without fear or favor. We don’t care about race, creed, religion in discharging our duty. If somebody violates the law then PNP reacts accordingly – enforce the law, maintain peace and order. That is our mandate,” Marquez said. He said it has been his position since assuming office to weed the force out of misfits and corrupt and reward the performer. “From the very beginning, I have said that we will reward the performer but we should be very hard on those who violate the law and betray their oath,” the PNP chief pointed out. Marquez said he would instruct Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Chief Superintendent Victor Deona to closely examine the video of the arrest of Menorca to verify the involvement of some policemen. “I heard there was a video, I will ask the CIDG chief to watch the video and so that we will find out if our personnel were involved in the abduction one way or the other,” he noted. Menorca said he was kidnapped in Bulan, Sorsogon by Quezon City policemen on July 17 after a church service. Menorca said the police officers ordered him to lie face down after, which he was handcuffed for 17 hours, as he pleaded and begged for his life. He said the INC leadership wanted to get information from him about a certain Antonio Ebangelista who wrote in his blog about anomalies in the INC. Don’t prejudge As the PNP prepares to join the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the investigation of the alleged abduction and detention, Vice President Jejomar Binay urged authorities to observe due process and the rule of law. Binay also appealed to the public not to prejudge the INC leadership. “I hope they will handle it with the rule of law not the rule by law,” Binay told reporters on the sidelines of the 41st Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City. The Vice President even likened the INC’s predicament to his own, saying he himself is a victim of false allegations raised by his political opponents. READ MORE...

ALSO: INC seeks prayers, understanding amid abduction allegations


OCTOBER 28 -The Iglesia Ni Cristo is asking its members to remain calm despite the police deployment issue. Ramon FVelasquez/Wikimedia Commons
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on Wednesday sought for prayers and understanding from members and Filipinos amid reports that police are being deployed in its central office in Tandang Sora, Quezon City as security.
Although he did not confirm the reports of police presence in the Church, the INC spokesperson appealed to its members asking them to remain calm despite the situation. “In this time of great tribulation we ask our brethren to remain calm and continue praying for our Church,” Zabala said in a statement. Zabala vowed that the INC will face all issues hurled against it and called on the public to be understanding and objective in order to attain the justice everyone deserves. “Rest assured that the Church leadership will face all the issues with dignity and with full confidence in the fairness of our justice system,” Zabala said. “To our fellow Filipinos, we appeal for open-mindedness, objectivity and understanding, We likewise call for circumspection in the face of baseless speculation and reckless accusations that do not contribute to efforts to obtain justice for all those involved.” he said. INC leaders were charged for allegedly kidnapping former church ministers Isaias Samson Jr. and Lowell Menorca II, together with their families. The case reached the Supreme Court as members of the Menorca family filed a petition for habeas corpus and writ of amparo over the weekend. According to reports, about 100 policemen are deployed as security in the INC compound. THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

INC: We’re ready to disprove Menorca’s allegations


The headquarters of the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo on Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City.

MANILA, NOVEMBER 2, 2015 (INQUIRER) By: Jerome Aning @inquirerdotnet October 26th, 2015 - Iglesia ni Cristo leaders are ready to face in court allegations that they kidnapped and detained expelled minister Lowell Menorca, according to the religious sect’s legal counsel.

In a statement on Monday, INC legal counsel Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad said the INC officials have been praying for the “enlightenment” of their former colleague, and have been more concerned with the possible “exploitation of the issue” by certain parties than the cases that Menorca had threatened to file against them.

“The officials of the INC are servants of their Church, and their primary concern is the welfare of their members, and this extends even to those who were once part of their flock. That is why even in the face of these allegations, they continue to pray for Mr. Menorca and his family,” Prodigalidad said.

In his press conference in Manila last Sunday, Menorca accused members of the INC Sanggunian or the governing council as the ones behind his kidnapping in Bulan, Sorsogon, last July on the suspicion that he was the mysterious blogger who had been exposing and writing about corruption and other anomalies in the church.

Meanwhile, Court of Appeals clerk of court Teresita Rigonan-Marigomen said the tribunal’s Seventh Division would hear the petitions for the issuance of the writs of amparo and habeas corpus that were filed by Menorca’s brother and sister-in-law against INC leaders, namely executive minister Eduardo Manalo and Sanggunian members Radel Cortez, Rolando Esguerra and Bienvenido Santos, also the church’s general evangelist.

The Seventh Division is chaired by Justice Magdangal de Leon with Justices Elihu Ybañez and Victoria Isabel Paredes as members. Paredes is the assigned ponente or writer of the division’s decision on the case.

Last week, the Supreme Court accepted petitions after finding them sufficient in form and substance. The high court also ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct hearings beginning November 3 and decide the case within 10 days after the case is submitted for resolution.


Photo of Lawyer Trixie Cruz Angeles FROM A GMA NEWS INTERVIEW: ABOUT HER: Trixie Cruz-Angeles Legal Counsel for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Spokeperson of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines NCR - National Capital Region, Philippines Legal Services, Current: National Committee on Monuments and Sites, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Cruz-Angeles Law Office; Previous: Guevarra, Cruz-Angeles and Calunsag Law Office, Philippine Daily Inquirer Online, Subcommission On Cultural Heritage (NCCA); Education: University of the Philippines FROM LinkedIn Profile.

Menorca’s lawyer Trixie Angeles said they would eventually file other criminal cases before the lower courts against Sanggunian members, other INC officials and even Quezon City policemen, whom he claimed were involved in the alleged abduction, torture, attempted murder and detention of the ex-minister but she said their priority for now would be the Court of Appeals hearings.

READ MORE...

After he was kidnapped, Menorca was surfaced in Dasmariñas City, Cavite a few days later where he was reported as being charged with the illegal possession of a grenade. He was later transferred to the INC Central Temple complex in Quezon City, where he and his family, he claimed, were held virtual prisoners for three months.

After news broke out about the Supreme Court cases, Menorca said the INC leadership moved him and his family to a house in Sitio Seville Neapolitan in Fairview, Quezon City, where they were eventually rescued by National Bureau of Investigation operatives.

Prodigalidad said the INC leadership would address the allegations in the proper venue and would cooperate with authorities. They expressed confidence of proving their innocence in fair proceedings.

She also stated that she and the INC trust that the “courts will act, decide consistent with jurisprudence and obey the rule of law.”

Prodigalidad said that INC officials were also concerned with the timing of the accusations.

“With the elections just six months away, they cannot help but worry that there may be personalities that may politicize this issue given the media coverage it has attracted,” the lawyer said.

“All they ask for is a fair shake, that this case be treated just like any other case,” she added.

The INC leaders “also pray that they will be extended the same rights as those enjoyed by us all, especially the “presumption of innocence.”

Commenting on the narrative by Menorca during his press conference last Sunday, Prodigalidad simply said that the “the allegations are false, and we will prove them to be false.” She added that the issues have become “sub judice,” or should no longer be discussed as the court has started proceedings on the case. SFM


MANILA TIMES

‘INC leaders tried to kill me’ - Lowell Menorca October 25, 2015 10:14 pm


BIGGER TROUBLE AHEAD Former Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca cries while narrating his ordeal to members of the press. With him is his wife Jinky. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN


Former Iglesia minister: I was illegally detained. Lowell Menorca 2nd, an expelled minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) on Sunday claimed that officials of the religious group ordered him killed in July this year.

Menorca, accompanied by his wife Jinky, said he and his family were illegally detained by the INC for three months.

Recounting his ordeal to media, the former minister said he and his family were abducted in Bulan, Sorsogon, and taken to Dasmariñas City in Cavite where two attempts on his life were made.

He said he was handcuffed for 17 hours during the trip from Sorsogon to Cavite.

According to Menorca, he was forced into an empty car and a grenade was tossed inside but it did not explode.

A police officer was then sent to finish him off but Menorca said he pleaded for his life.

“Sabi ko, please don’t kill me. Maawa ka na sa akin. Ang katunayan po ay ministro ako ng Iglesia ni Cristo at may asawa po ako at isang anak [I told him, have mercy on me. I am a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and I have a wife and a child]. I was already crying. Sabi ko I am not a bad person. Huwag niyo naman po sanang hayaan na lumaki ang anak ko na walang ama [I told him please do not allow my child to grow up without a father],’” Menorca said.

He said the policeman took pity on him and agreed not to kill him on condition that criminal charges will be filed against the minister.

“He [police officer] said he will let me live if I can promise that I will agree to whatever charge he will give me in prison, and that I will not make a scandal,” Menorca added.

Charges of illegal possession of firearms were later filed against the minister in a Cavite court.

Menorca, whose petition for a writ of amparo filed in his behalf by his brother was recently granted by the Supreme Court, blamed the INC’s Council of Elders for his torture.

He, however, refused to identify them, saying they will be named when he files criminal charges against them in court.
Menorca said his travails started in July when he was ordered to report to the church’s district office for some incursion while officiating a worship service.

He was then directed to write a statement accusing the estranged sibling of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo as the person behind several blog posts critical of the INC.

READ MORE...

Menorca refused. Several days later, a group of armed men, which included some policemen, accosted him.

“Habang papasok sila at nakita nilang nakita ko na sila ay patakbo silang pumunta sa akin na sumisigaw ng ‘Dapa! Dapa kung ayaw mong masaktan.’ Nakatutok ang lahat ng kanilang baril sa akin [I saw them coming. They were running and they told me to get down if I did not want to be hurt. Their guns were pointed at me],” he said.

From Cavite, Menorca said he and his family were taken to the INC compound in Quezon City where they were detained for three months.

He claimed that they were forbidden to communicate with other people and that he was allowed to go out under heavy guard to deliver statements prepared by church officials to make it appear that all is well.

The former minister said he was suspected to be one of the persons critical of the INC leadership.

“For three months we were there, for three months we were incarcerated. We were never free to go out,’” he told reporters.
Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Manalo to appear before the Court of Appeals (CA) and to bring with him the members of his congregation who were allegedly being held by the church against their will.

The High Court’s order also directed the CA to hear and decide on the petition filed by Anthony Menorca and Jungko Otsuka. Anthony is the brother of Lowell.

A writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security has been violated or threatened.

Trixie Angeles, lawyer for the Menorca camp, said charges of illegal detention will be filed against some officials of the religious group. Leena Chua

5 Responses to ‘INC leaders tried to kill me’
Get Real says:
October 26, 2015 at 9:29 am
Reserve your judgements, you only know the things that are being reported by the media. From the insiders these are all part of a grand syndicated attempt to discredit and humiliate INC and its leadership. How come they all have TRIXIE ANGELES as their laywer??? Angel Manalo, Isais Samson,Anthony Menorca and Now Lowell Menorca. hmmmm sumthing fishy??
Reply
RizalinoArrabis says:
October 26, 2015 at 6:06 am
If Lowell Menorca and family’s alleged kidnapping from Bulan, Sorsogon was true, then, there is a big possibility that the matter was an operation conducted by the “Kagawaran ng Hostess Siya”. It can be a well-planned “kidnap me” and similar to what had happened during the case of former NBI Dirtector Gatdula wherein he was accused of being the responsible party in the “ambush me” operation concerning the NBI Director who replaced him.
“Hostess Siya” is from the Bicol Region and there is a big possibility that she has a hand on the matter and of course with collusions from parties out to demean and despoil the glorious stature of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Remember that in the accusation against Gatdula, the same “Hostess Siya” was shown on TV as talking so much and hade already convicted Gatdula by publicity. And she is also a party to the outright give-away of WPP to individuals who had made false accusations also to the leadership of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
Reply
leitz says:
October 26, 2015 at 4:01 am
reading and watching the news about the revelation of former INC members who claimed they were detained and their movements restricted by INC officials, the INC hierarchy must be really, really in big trouble sooner or later and some INC officials will go to jail.
Reply
josue gabrillo says:
October 26, 2015 at 3:07 am
masasama pala yang mga namumuno ng Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), hindi pala sila dapat tularan, saying marami pa naman silang miyembro na naniniwala sa kanila, dapat I condemn ang mga yan, kunwari pa tamang, daan, tuwid na daan, yun pala katulad din nila ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas na Abnoy, manggagantso rin pala, pwe nakakahiya kayo, talaga palang wala ng pag asa ang mga Pilipino at Pilipinas. mga buset kayo.
Reply
Inocent says:
October 26, 2015 at 2:44 am
The experiences of Mr. Menorca and family and the rest who defy the leadership of the INC is common to how a cult operates. Saw a feature in CNN which exposed cults in the U.S. related to the Mormons which is similar to the INC in their funtions, some even killing members who oppose them.


MANILA STANDARD

‘More INC brass being detained’ posted October 26, 2015 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito

EXPELLED Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca said Sunday more ministers and their families were being illegally detained like he was inside the church’s Central Temple in Quezon City.

In a press conference, Menorca said he was abducted, threatened, tortured and interrogated, then held with his family for three months in an apartment inside the church’s Central Compound in Quezon City, because they suspected him of creating a blog that exposed corruption in the INC.

Ordeal

Former Iglesia Ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca and his wife Seiko Otsuka Menorca recount before reporters at a hotel in Manila their supposed ordeal after they were kidnapped by alleged Iglesia members. Danny Pata “For three months we were there, for three months we were incarcerated. We were never free to go out,” Menorca said, even though they were told that they would be gradually introduced to the outside world and that everything would go back to normal. “I told them I don’t want my child growing up knowing we were prisoners here.”

Menorca denied that he was Antonio Ebangelista, the creator of the blog that detailed anomalies in the church.

“I am not Antonio Ebangelista,” Menorca said. “But all of us are Antonio Ebangelistas—all of us who want a cleansing inside the Iglesia.”

Menorca said other victims like him were also in need of help.

“I cannot divulge right now how many are inside the Central Temple, but they are also in dire need of our help and prayers,” he said.

INC leaders denied Menorca’s allegations in a statement Sunday.

READ MORE...

“The officials of INC are surprised and saddened by the recent turn of events, and the statements of Mr. Lowell Menorca II,” the statement said.

The church also said they would address Menorca’s allegations in the proper venue, and that they were confident that if they were treated fairly and given due process, they would establish their innocence and clear their names.

Speaking to reporters, Menorca said he was abducted from his church in Sorsogon on July 16 by three uniformed police officers wearing the badge of the Quezon City Police District and three civilians bearing high-powered firearms, led by Benefrido Santiago, a former member of the church’s powerful ruling council, the Sanggunian.

“While they were entering, they saw that I saw them, they ran towards me and said ‘Drop to the ground if you don’t want to get hurt!’ Their weapons were all pointed at me,” Menorca said.

En route to Dasmariñas in Cavite, Menorca said, the policemen who handcuffed him threw a live grenade onto his seat while he was being transported to a safe house.

“I was thrown a live hand grenade before my very eyes. Luckily, it didn’t [go] off,” Menorca said.

Later on, Menorca said, a police officer was dispatched to finish the job by shooting him, but the minister begged for his life.

“I was begging the policeman to let me live,” Menorca said, telling him that he was a minister of the INC and was innocent of any crime.

The policeman said he was willing to let Menorca live as long as he agreed to any charge that would be filed against him.

In Dasmariñas, Menorca was charged with possession of an explosive device.

After he was detained, top church officials, including Santiago, interrogated him for days to find out who Antonio Ebangelista was, before bringing him to the Central Compound of the INC in Quezon City on July 20, where he was detained for three months.

Menorca said he was only allowed to leave the compound when he would deliver “scripted interviews” to show that he was fine.

During this time, he denied that he had been abducted and detained.


Former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca on Friday confirmed that he and his family were abducted at the Quezon City compound of the politically influential religious group, saying his statements in past interviews were all lies orchestrated by the church leadership. FROM THE INQUIRER OCTOBER 24, 2015

Menorca said the Sanggunian, through the INC’s legal department, forced him and his wife Jinky to sign non-disclosure and waiver documents that would silence him.

After signing the papers, Menorca was transferred to a safe house in Fairview, where he was eventually rescued by his lawyer, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in October.

Angeles said they are planning to file multiple charges—including illegal detention and grave coercion—against the INC leadership and some members of the Quezon City Police District.

“We have a shopping list of charges but the obvious ones would be illegal detention and grave coercion,” Angeles said.

Earlier, Menorca’s younger brother Anthony and the twin sister of his wife filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, asking the Supreme Court to order the church to produce their missing relatives.

On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered the INC leadership to produce Menorca and bring him before the Court of Appeals on Nov. 3.

Menorca’s brother has since been placed under the Witness Protection Program of the Justice Department, after saying there were threats to his life.

Menorca also said church leaders were threatening to stage another “show of force” like they did in August, after Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo became one of the respondents in the cases filed against the church. With Rio N. Araja


PHILSTAR

PNP to probe ‘kidnap’ of Iglesia minister By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am 0 25 googleplus0 0


Expelled Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca recounts the ordeal he and his wife, Seiko Otsuka Menorca, went through when they were allegedly kidnapped and held captive for three months, reportedly by INC members, during a press conference at a hotel in Manila on October 25, 2015. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) will investigate allegations by an expelled minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) that some members of the Quezon City Police took part in his kidnapping and detention at the religious group’s compound where he reportedly suffered torture and harassment for three months before being rescued last week.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez issued the order in the wake of revelations by former INC minister Lowell Menorca II that the INC leadership had him kidnapped and held against his will with the help of some Quezon City policemen who were INC members.

“The cleansing in the PNP is a daily activity. We continue to make sure that appropriate actions are instituted, implemented against our people who are involved in any illegal activities… we will coordinate with the complainants, we’ll ask them to substantiate their complaints and allegation,” Marquez told reporters at Camp Crame in Quezon City yesterday.

Marquez said illegal activities by any PNP personnel would never be tolerated and would be dealt with severely.

“What the PNP is doing is law enforcement without fear or favor. We don’t care about race, creed, religion in discharging our duty. If somebody violates the law then PNP reacts accordingly – enforce the law, maintain peace and order. That is our mandate,” Marquez said.

He said it has been his position since assuming office to weed the force out of misfits and corrupt and reward the performer.

“From the very beginning, I have said that we will reward the performer but we should be very hard on those who violate the law and betray their oath,” the PNP chief pointed out.

Marquez said he would instruct Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Chief Superintendent Victor Deona to closely examine the video of the arrest of Menorca to verify the involvement of some policemen.

“I heard there was a video, I will ask the CIDG chief to watch the video and so that we will find out if our personnel were involved in the abduction one way or the other,” he noted.

Menorca said he was kidnapped in Bulan, Sorsogon by Quezon City policemen on July 17 after a church service.

Menorca said the police officers ordered him to lie face down after, which he was handcuffed for 17 hours, as he pleaded and begged for his life.

He said the INC leadership wanted to get information from him about a certain Antonio Ebangelista who wrote in his blog about anomalies in the INC.

Don’t prejudge


VP BINAY

As the PNP prepares to join the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the investigation of the alleged abduction and detention, Vice President Jejomar Binay urged authorities to observe due process and the rule of law.

Binay also appealed to the public not to prejudge the INC leadership.

“I hope they will handle it with the rule of law not the rule by law,” Binay told reporters on the sidelines of the 41st Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City.

The Vice President even likened the INC’s predicament to his own, saying he himself is a victim of false allegations raised by his political opponents.

READ MORE...

Binay is facing five plunder and graft complaints before the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged corruption in various infrastructure projects in Makati during his stint as mayor.

“Even I was a victim of demolition by perception. Let’s not jump to conclusions,” he said.

Asked if the INC should be charged, Binay said: “You are assuming that there’s already a conviction. These are still allegations. It has yet to be proven. You must have to listen to the explanation.”

The DOJ received the serious illegal detention complaint against the INC before its head Leila de Lima resigned to run for senator.

Meanwhile, the seventh division of the Court of Appeals (CA) will take over the petition for writs of habeas corpus and amparo filed against INC officials by Menorca’s brother Anthony and sister-in-law Jungko Otsuka.

In raffle yesterday, the case remanded to the CA by the Supreme Court was assigned to the division of Associate Justices Victoria Isabel Paredes, Magdangal de Leon and Elihu Ybañez.

The appellate court is set to hear the case on Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. as earlier set by the SC.

The CA division will receive the answers of respondents – including the church’s executive minister Eduardo Manalo and three members of its Sanggunian or governing council – Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago and Rolando Esguerra.

Based on the SC writs of habeas corpus and amparo, the CA must also decide on the case within 10 days after hearing all sides of parties.

In their petition last week, Anthony and Jungko asked the high court to compel the INC leadership to release Lowell and his immediate family from its custody.

They also asked the SC to enjoin the church leaders “from doing further harm and even from approaching or transacting” with their family.

Through lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, petitioners alleged that Menorca was abducted and held against his will for months.

Angeles is also the lawyer of another expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr., who earlier filed criminal charges of harassment, illegal detention, threats and coercion against members of the Sanggunian before the DOJ.

Angeles earlier said they would focus on the amparo petition since Lowell and family had been released. Their amparo petition was intended to make the court issue a protection order for Menorca.

A writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security has been violated or threatened. A writ of habeas corpus, on the other hand, is a legal action sought on behalf of a person who has been unlawfully detained.

Don’t just give alms


TARLAC CITY– President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here Sunday afternoon to grace the thanksgiving celebration and National Transformation Assembly organized by the Tarlac First Baptist Church (TFBC)FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN OCTOBER 29, 2015

In Tarlac over the weekend, President Aquino lauded achievements by the local Baptist church but decried some religious groups’ fixation on providing doleouts and expanding its influence, but ignoring injustices and other social ills. He did not name any specific religious group.

Aquino issued the pronouncement at the inauguration of the first Baptist church in his hometown. Many politicians pander to religious groups especially during elections.

The President, the son of the late devoutly Catholic president Cory Aquino, said he has high respect for the group of Bishop Jonel Milan of K4 Philippines of the Tarlac First Baptist Church.

He cited the church’s contribution to uplifting the lives of ordinary people.

“We are our brother’s keeper,” he said in a speech he delivered late Sunday afternoon.

“Our challenge is, instead of being contented with merely giving alms, we should fight the system that breeds injustice and keeps our people in poverty,” he said in Filipino.

He said even the principle of the separation of church and state is being used to justify apathy and silence to realities in society.

He said even the Catholic Church is not guiltless in this regard as it had played a role in preserving Spanish colonialism in the Philippines for more than three centuries.

He said he is glad the Second Vatican Council has provided a new impetus to the Church’s teachings on social justice

“It’s alright to be mindful of how we run our life in this world, because it can guide us in our quest for eternal life,” he said, referring to the message of the Second Vatican Council.

“When I was a child, I used to ask myself: who’s the greater sinner? Is it someone who is forced to steal so he can feed his family or is it a wealthy politician who still has the gumption to steal from the nation’s coffers?” Edu Punay, Helen Flores, Delon Porcalla


PHILSTAR

INC seeks prayers, understanding amid abduction allegations By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated October 28, 2015 - 6:56pm 3 64 googleplus0 0


The Iglesia Ni Cristo is asking its members to remain calm despite the police deployment issue. Ramon FVelasquez/Wikimedia Commons

MANILA, Philippines – The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on Wednesday sought for prayers and understanding from members and Filipinos amid reports that police are being deployed in its central office in Tandang Sora, Quezon City as security.

Although he did not confirm the reports of police presence in the Church, the INC spokesperson appealed to its members asking them to remain calm despite the situation.

“In this time of great tribulation we ask our brethren to remain calm and continue praying for our Church,” Zabala said in a statement.

Zabala vowed that the INC will face all issues hurled against it and called on the public to be understanding and objective in order to attain the justice everyone deserves.

“Rest assured that the Church leadership will face all the issues with dignity and with full confidence in the fairness of our justice system,” Zabala said.

“To our fellow Filipinos, we appeal for open-mindedness, objectivity and understanding, We likewise call for circumspection in the face of baseless speculation and reckless accusations that do not contribute to efforts to obtain justice for all those involved.” he said.

INC leaders were charged for allegedly kidnapping former church ministers Isaias Samson Jr. and Lowell Menorca II, together with their families.

The case reached the Supreme Court as members of the Menorca family filed a petition for habeas corpus and writ of amparo over the weekend.

According to reports, about 100 policemen are deployed as security in the INC compound.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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