CA strikes out ex-minister’s raps vs INC

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - February 9, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals has ordered that allegations against Iglesia Ni Cristo leaders be stricken out of expelled minister Lowell Menorca II’s testimony in the writ of amparo case he filed against his former congregation.

Menorca’s allegations were “speculative, conjectural, argumentative, non-assertive of truth, have no relevance to the issues to be resolved... or opinions inadmissible as evidence,” the CA’s Seventh Division said in its ruling.

In a 42-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Victoria Isabela Paredes, the CA granted the plea in the opposition filed by INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo and Sanggunian or Council members Radel Cortez, Bienvenido Santiago and Rolando Esguerra  questioning entries in Menorca’s 53-page judicial affidavit.

The court specifically deleted the statement of the former minister that some of the respondents were “threatening us that the Church administration will not let us live once we get implicated with Antonio Ebanghelista,” referring to the fictitious blogger who publicly hurled allegations of anomalies against the INC leadership.

The CA has also stricken out Menorca’s statement pertaining to Manalo: “Bro. Mabasa talked to us inside our house and told us that the decision given by Bro. Eduardo Manalo was to give us another chance.”

Another piece of hearsay, the CA ruled, was Menorca’s claim that an INC official  told him that the same people who can send him to jail are the same ones who can make him disappear.

Associate Justices Magdangal de Leon and Elihu Ybanez concurred in this ruling promulgated last Jan. 13 but released only yesterday.

The respondents, through lawyer Patricia-Ann Prodigalidad, sought the deletion of the entries in Menorca’s affidavit in earlier hearings.

The CA justices have already approved the deletion of some of Menorca’ s statements, including his claim that he was “forcibly taken upon orders of the INC.” They said he “has no authority and personal knowledge” to make the claim.

The CA will continue its hearing on the amparo case on Feb.15. Menorca is expected to take the witness stand to detail his claims of abduction, harassment and illegal detention.

He was supposed to testify on Jan. 20, but was arrested on his way to the hearing over a libel case. 

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