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Go figure: Cops escort Bicol minister who ends up in Cavite jail for carrying grenade

The headquarters of the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo on Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City.

The headquarters of the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo on Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City.

BULAN, Sorsogon—A group of people on board a convoy of six vehicles drove to this town on Friday and handcuffed an Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister before whisking him away, police and village officials here said.

The minister, among those listed as allegedly abducted by INC members, later surfaced at a jail in Dasmariñas City, Cavite province, where police said he was arrested for reportedly threatening construction workers with a grenade.

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READ: INC council wants to help ‘brother’ in jail — lawyer

Butag village chief Benito Gliponeo said it was right after INC’s samba (prayer service) sometime before noon of July 17 when a group of people in several vehicles came and handcuffed INC minister Bro. Lowell Boyet Menorca II, threw a jacket over his head, and led him to a vehicle that immediately drove off.

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After about 20 minutes, Menorca’s wife, who was also in the church, was likewise whisked away in another vehicle, Gliponeo said, adding that Menorca had been assigned to the INC church in the village only some six months ago so they did not know much about him.

Insp. Deo Cabildo, deputy police chief here, said the convoy of pickups, SUVs and a Toyota Innova left Butag around noon though he could not say if Menorca was with them. But there was no report of any abduction in Butag, nor was the incident logged on the police blotter.

However, police desk officer SPO1 Alejandro Marqueza recounted in a separate interview that a barangay kagawad (village councilman) had gone to the police station around 1 p.m. on July 17, asking if INC had coordinated with the police since its convoy allegedly used a police escort.

Marqueza said he told the village official that the group did not coordinate with the town police. Cabildo also denied that the police provided an escort to the INC group.

Police unaware

According to Cabildo, the police was not aware of Menorca’s situation until news about his arrest in Dasmariñas, Cavite, came out in the media.

Cavite police said Menorca, 38, was being detained on charges of grave threats and illegal possession of an explosive. According to the police report, he was arrested on July 17 after threatening two construction workers with a hand grenade. The police said that workers managed to call them when it turned out that the grenade pin was held in place by tape.

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Flees anew

Meanwhile, the suspended INC minister who bared corruption within his church and the detention of his fellow ministers fled anew yesterday, leaving Manila with his family amid fears for their lives.

After escaping his captors on Thursday and talking about his family’s alleged ordeal, Isaias Samson Jr. fled to a new safe house yesterday after spending the night at an undisclosed location in Manila, a source who traveled with Samson’s party confirmed Friday afternoon.

Security fears

The source said Samson had to cancel a planned second press conference on Friday morning as security fears cropped up anew.

Just hours after allegedly escaping from his armed guards early on Thursday morning, Samson bared his family’s weeklong “torture” by some members of INC’s Sanggunian (governing council) while they were under “house arrest.”

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TAGS: Antonio Ramirez Ebangelista, Bro. Lowell Boyet Menorca II, Bulan, Iglesia ni Cristo, INC members, INC minister, Sorsogon
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