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Metro

Expelled INC minister fails to testify before CA

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Expelled minister Lowell Menorca II failed to testify in his case against leaders of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) before the Court of Appeals (CA).

In the continuation of the hearing on his habeas corpus and amparo petitions yesterday, Menorca was supposed to take the witness stand to detail his allegations of abduction, harassment and illegal detention against the top INC ministers.

But before he could start his testimony, INC lawyers immediately asked the CA’s Seventh Division to suspend their cross-examination of Menorca due to flaws and questionable entries in his 53-page judicial affidavit.

INC lawyer Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad told the CA that they have found at least 117 items they objected to in the affidavit submitted by Menorca’s lawyers ahead of the hearing.

She argued that the statements submitted were hearsay, speculation and opinions, citing the court’s judicial affidavit rule that requires the affidavit to contain only facts and particulars in a question-and-answer format.

The lawyer cited the claim of Menorca that he was “forcibly taken upon orders of the INC.”

Prodigalidad likened this conclusion drawn by Menorca to a telenovela or soap opera since it was not supported by evidence. She sought the deletion of this portion of the affidavit.

The justices approved the deletion, saying Menorca “has no authority and personal knowledge” to make the claim.

The INC lawyer said they have similar questions to more than a hundred more portions of Menorca’s affidavit.

“If we do not object now, inadmissible evidence will be admitted into the record and we cannot allow that. That would be unfair to the INC,” she explained to the magistrates.

Prodigalidad clarified that they do not intend to delay the proceedings, recalling that they did not raise similar questions to testimonies by witnesses of Menorca during the hearings on Nov. 11 and 12.

In these hearings, INC lawyers cited inconsistencies in the testimonies of Menorca’s wife Jinky, brother Anthony and nanny Abegail Yanson in demonstrating the weaknesses of the case.

The CA then ordered Prodigalidad to put her objections in writing and Menorca’s lawyer to also submit answers before the court resolves the questions.

The court also set the next hearing on Jan. 20, 2016.

ABEGAIL YANSON ACIRC AFFIDAVIT COURT OF APPEALS IGLESIA NI CRISTO INC LOWELL MENORCA MENORCA PATRICIA-ANN PRODIGALIDAD PRODIGALIDAD SEVENTH DIVISION
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