Watch: Ex-INC Minister Lowell Menorca Narrates Alleged Abduction Details (Video)
Former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca narrated on Sunday, October 24,2015 the details of his ordeal when he said he was abducted by the top officials of the powerful religious group. Last Friday, Menorca confirmed in a video that he and his family were illegally detained inside the INC Central Compound in Quezon City for almost three months. Watch the video below.
“I asked them repeatedly to loosen the handcuffs because it hurt so much, my shoulders were about to fall off, my hands were bleeding. I kept on begging the police officers to even just remove my handcuffs, I’m not gonna fight them, they were all with guns,” Lowell Menorca said in front of media in an unidentified place, detailing his alleged abduction back in July.
“For 3 months we were there, for 3 months we were incarcerated. We were never free to go out even though they promised us we can slowly introduce you to the outward world, slowly everything will be normal. I told them, I don’t want my child growing up knowing we were prisoners here,” Menorca added, narrating their experience inside the INC Central Compound.
According to Menorca, a hand grenade was thrown into the car seat beside him while they were on the way to Dasmariñas but it did not explode. He added for 17 agonizing hours, he is repeatedly questioned about Antonio Ebangelista, the pen name of the blogger who runs the ‘Iglesia Ni Cristo – Silent No More’ and exposing alleged corruption inside the Iglesia ni Cristo.
Accompanied by his wife, Jinky, Menorca said he was forced to tell a lie in his previous statements when he denied being abducted and all of them are scripted. He added that he and his family were abducted from July 25 to October 21. On her official Facebook page, Trixie Cruz-Angeles (Lowell Menorca’s lawyer) said that Menorca and his family have been rescued.
Last July 17, Menorca was arrested in Sorsogon and was jailed in Dasmarinas, Cavite. The expelled minister was charged with illegal possession of an explosive device, but was later released. In an earlier interview with GMA News, the case is just a mistaken identity and that he and his family are safe. However, his brother Anthony Menorca insisted that the abduction is real.
Menorca was one of the nine missing INC ministers reported on the ‘Iglesia Ni Cristo – Silent No More’ blog post. However, Iglesia ni Cristo General Evangelist Bienvenido Santiago denied all the allegations via a press conference. Menorca even appeared on INC-run NET TV, also denying the abduction, and was interviewed by INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala.
However, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a thorough investigation on this issue. This led to a 5-day protest rally by thousands of INC members at EDSA including ABS-CBN journalist Anthony Taberna, insisting that the Philippine government should respect the separation of the church and the state.
Last Friday, October 22, the Supreme Court (SC) issued writs of habeas corpus, ordering the INC to present Lowell Menorca and three other expelled INC ministers before the Court of Appeals (CA) on Tuesday, November 3, 10 am. This is SC’s response to the petition filed by Anthony Menorca and Jungko Otsuka (Lowell’s sister in-law) the day before.
Meanwhile, INC’s legal counsel Atty. Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad released a statement also this Sunday, saying that “They (Iglesia ni Cristo) will address the allegations of Mr. Menorca in the proper venue, and are confident that if treated fairly by authorities, they will be given due process and the opportunity to establish their innocence and to clear their names.”