Lawyer hits Arnulfo Fuentebella for meddling in release of ex-Iglesia ni Cristo minister
The camp of former Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca is curious to know why erstwhile House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella would contact a national broadsheet to claim he witnessed the supposedly voluntary transfer of the clergyman from the Iglesia ni Cristo’s central compound in Quezon City last Thursday (Oct. 22).
Lawyer Trixie Cruz Angeles expressed reservations about Fuentebella’s statement to the Philippine Daily Inquirer recounting how he witnessed Menorca and his family members exit from the “apartment house” inside the Iglesia ni Cristo compound, and their travel to Fairview.
“I have serious considerations about why is he making a statement and why was he a particular witness to this alleged release. Because I would like to know what is his business in doing so,” Angeles said.
Aside from supposedly witnessing Menorca’s exit, Fuentebella claimed to have seen the former church minister sign an affidavit stating he voluntarily left the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s main compound. The erstwhile House official said he must have been contacted by “someone from INC”— whose name he cannot remember— to ensure that no untoward incident will happen during the Menorcas’ trip.
While Angeles was aware of the affidavit Menorca signed, she maintained that any writing or issuance her client allegedly made while in custody “is one that he has made under duress.”
“We note that (Menorca) was transferred after we filed the petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. And we believe that the intent for this was quite possibly to hide him from the authorities should the writ be issued. So the position is that, at the time, he was not just in danger, but he was gravely in danger,” she said.
In a rare occurrence, the Supreme Court granted the petition for habeas corpus filed by the relatives of Menorca and his wife, and ordered Iglesia ni Cristo to produce them in court.
Menorca and his family were reportedly held inside the church’s central compound from July 25 to Oct. 21.
Disclosure: Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles is the publisher of Politiko
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