Menorcas allowed to go outside, but guarded by INC: lawyer

An aerial shot from the helicopter of the Metro Manila Development Authority shows the monstrous traffic jam at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as vehicles bound for the 101st anniversary celebration of the Iglesia ni Cristo occupy almost the entire northbound portion of the expressway. (MNS photo)

An aerial shot from the helicopter of the Metro Manila Development Authority shows the monstrous traffic jam at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as vehicles bound for the 101st anniversary celebration of the Iglesia ni Cristo occupy almost the entire northbound portion of the expressway. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Jinky Otsuka Menorca, wife of expelled Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) member Lowell Menorca, admitted Wednesday that she and the rest of her family were able to go to various places at the time of their supposed detention, but her lawyer clarified that the family had always been “under guard” by the church.

Jinky was cross-examined by the counsel of INC leaders Salvador Peña at the resumption of the hearing on the habeas corpus and amparo petition of Anthony Menorca and Jungko Otsuka for and on behalf of Lowell.

Peña’s questioning focused on “inconsistencies” between the affidavits of Jinky and her sister, Jungko, specifically on the following aspects, among which was Jungko’s claim that she visited the Menorcas at the INC apartelle in Quezon City on July 25. Jinky said this did not happen and “that (date) must be an error.”

Peña was also able to elicit responses from Jinky that showed she and the rest of her family were able to leave their apartment/quarters for church, the gym, badminton court, the canteen and the other facilities inside the INC Central compound in Quezon City, go to the hospital, and even bring their balikbayan visitors to the Philippine Arena in Bulacan during the duration of their alleged detention.

Jinky also admitted that they brought their daughter to the hospital for check-up. She, however, upon redirect by her counsel, Trixie Cruz Angeles, said these occasions were all in the presence of INC “guards.”

Asked by Associate Justice Elihu Ybañez if these guards were armed, Jinky said there were occasions that they had bags with them that contained guns.

Meanwhile, the the lawyer for INC leaders also asked the appellate court to impose sanctions on the camp of Menorcas.

Atty. Patricia Ann Prodigalidad, counsel for respondent Eduardo Manalo, et al., asked the Court of Appeals (CA) 7th Division, chaired by Associate Justice Magdangal De Leon, to impose sanctions on the Menorca camp for failure to furnish respondents with copies of the Judicial Affidavits of their witnesses on Nov. 5 (deadline for furnishing of copies by email) and Nov. 6 (deadline for furnishing of hard copies) as agreed during the November 3 hearing.

Prodigalidad also called out Menorca counsels Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan for manifesting intent to furnish respondents with copies of the affidavits of Lowell and his brother, Anthony, only today, calling this an act to “clearly ambush respondents” and “surprise respondents” with affidavits not previously provided them.

Prodigalidad also slammed Menorca’s counsels for the e-mailed copies of Jinky Menorca and Abegail Yanson furnished them for being unsigned and unnotarized, and coming from an e-mail with the name “cycloneranger” which is not the official email address provided the court.

“We are baffled how come they could have themselves interviewed and not do their duty as lawyers… we call on this court to give them sanctions under the Judicial Affidavit Rule. This court has been lenient with them already in the past hearing when they asked for time to print their affidavits; how many times will this court be lenient to them?” Prodigalidad told the justices.

For their part, Angeles and Paglinawan apologized to the court but stressed that they got sick, including their lone assistant, and the reason why the copies e-mailed to respondents were unnotarized was because there was difficulty in scanning the notarized pages.

“All our scanners decided to conk out at the same time, your honors. This is a simple technical difficulty,” Angeles said.

Prodigalidad attempted to have the Menorcas’ affidavits stricken off since they were submitted beyond the agreed deadline, but the court decided to accept them “in the interest of justice” with a corresponding fine of P2,000 consistent with the Judicial Affidavit Rule.

“We want to know the truth,” Justice De Leon said.(MNS)

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