Ex-INC minister Menorca faces illegal detention complaint

MANILA, Philippines – Former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca is facing a serious illegal detention complaint after being accused of holding captive his family's house help, Abegail Yanson.

Abegail's parents, Candido and Rosalie Yanson, filed a complaint against Menorca before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday afternoon, November 4, accompanied by lawyer Alex Avisado.

This comes a day after Yanson and the Menorcas appeared before the Court of Appeals for the first hearing on the former minister's petition for writs of habeas corpus and amparo

The case stems from a petition filed by Menorca's relatives before the Supreme Court, where they claimed that Menorca, his wife Jinky, daughter Yurie, and Yanson, were illegally detained for 3 months by members of the INC's top administrative body, the Sanggunian.

But in their complaint before the DOJ, the Yansons alleged that Menorca and his wife have not allowed Abegail to see her family since they brought her to Manila from Bulan, Sorsogon, last July.

They also belied the claim of Menorca's lawyer, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, that a woman purportedly from the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group tried to forcibly lead Abegail away during a recess in the proceedings on Tuesday, November 3.

When Angeles brought up the incident before the court, INC counsel Patricia Ann Prodigalidad disputed her account, saying the woman who approached Abegail was her own mother.

A teary-eyed Rosalie said on Wednesday that she had wanted to hug her daughter.

"I’ve been wanting to do that because I missed her," she said.

But Menorca's camp earlier said that Abegail's family was being used by top INC officials. Asked by CA Associate Justice Magdangal de Leon to confirm if the woman who approached her was her mother, Yanson said she did not know the woman.

Earlier, Angeles said the threats and harassment facing her clients were further proof that they warrant the protection of a writ of amparo. – Rappler.com