CHR wants expelled INC minister’s complaints probed
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday called for an investigation of the complaints raised by expelled Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca II during his arrest for libel.

The CHR called on the National Police Commission, the Philippine National Police, the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court to initiate an investigation on Menorca’s complaints.

“These investigations would provide all stakeholders the chance to air their grievances, ferret out the truth, clear their names and determine accountability if circumstances deem it necessary. The Commission on Human Rights shall closely monitor these investigations,” the CHR stated.

“The CHR expresses great concern over the reports of alleged irregularities in the arrest of Mr. Lowell Menorca II and the possible strategic abuse of legal processes to quell legitimate grievances,” it added.

Menorca claimed Manila police harassed him when he was arrested on a complaint for libel.

Menorca previously claimed he was kidnapped and detained by operatives of the Quezon City Police District and brought to the INC compound for more than three months without facing any charges.   

“Any report of blatant and public disregard of constitutionally guaranteed rights of the accused and detained persons, especially if alleged to be committed by state security forces acting on private interests, is a grave and severe matter that merits the full attention of the commission,” the CHR said.

The CHR stood firm that the alleged abuses of persons in authority have “overarching implications and consequences that undermine” the country’s criminal justice system.

It added that Menorca’s allegations, if true, also send a chilling effect “that could silence the voice of dissent against abuses and exploitations.”

“The commission shall not sit idly and allow these adverse consequences to come to fruition,” it said.

In a television interview, Menorca called on INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo to look into corruption in the religious group involving members of the Sanggunian (council).

“They are hiding under the clout of the executive minister so that they could remain untouchable,” Menorca said.

He also called on Manalo to look into what he called “express tiwalag” or sudden suspension and expulsion of INC members without due process.

“Nowadays, if you like or share a post against the INC on social media, it’s already tantamount to expulsion,” he said.

“Also, the families of those they suspected are also expelled, like what happened to me and my family,” he said.

Menorca said the INC suspects him of being Antonio Ebangelista, the blogger that exposed several anomalies in the INC on the Internet.

Menorca, however, denied any involvement in the blog. – With Ghio Ong

 

ACIRC ANTONIO EBANGELISTA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE SUPREME COURT EDUARDO MANALO HUMAN RIGHTS INC LOWELL MENORCA MENORCA MR. LOWELL MENORCA NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSION PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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