MANILA – Expelled Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca II claimed that his abduction in Sorsogon province and detention in Cavite province were supposedly preludes to his murder by several members of the Sanggunian, after being falsely accused as “Antonio Ebangelista” – the blogger who exposed alleged corruption and other anomalies in the Church.
Menorca also disclosed that ‘a lot more people’ and their families were still ‘held against their will,’ after being accused as dissenters as well. They were detained at the INC Central Temple complex in Quezon City.
‘Surprised and saddened by the recent turn of events,’ INC officials stated that they will be releasing a statement in response to the ousted minister’s claims of kidnapping and illegal detention.
“They 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,” INC council lead counsel Patricia Prodigalidad said in a statement.
Menorca petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday for the issuance of the writs of habeas corpus (relief from unlawful imprisonment) and amparo (protection of constitutional rights). The SC granted the writs on Friday.
QC Police involved
At a press conference held in Manila, Menorca claimed that Quezon City Police officers were the ones who kidnapped, threatened, and detained him at the INC compound. He also disclosed the details of his abduction.
“For three months we were there. For three months we were incarcerated. We were never free to go out even though they promised, ‘OK, we will slowly introduce you to the outside world. Slowly everything will be normal.’ I told them, I don’t want my child growing up knowing that we are prisoners here,” he recalled.
After a worship service on July 17, Menorca said that he was seized by armed men, was told to lie face down and handcuffed. He was then herded into a six-vehicle convoy and a grenade was tossed inside the vehicle. He was later on accused of possessing illegal firearms.
“After alighting from the coaster, they made me sit in a car. They locked the door and immediately they left the scene. The driver of another car went to the backside and threw a round thing inside the car, at the backseat. I knew that it was a grenade,” he said.
“When we were already in an isolated area, he was looking for a gun. That’s when I begged him. I said, ‘Please don’t kill me. Have mercy. I am minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo and I have a family,” he added.
The expelled INC minister was then brought from Sorsogon to Cavite where he was detained for three months.