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Moot and academic: CA junks Menorca’s bid for protection

/ 01:52 PM April 26, 2016
lowell menorca released

Former Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca answers questions from the media minutes after he was released from detention. AIE BALAGTAS SEE/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Court of Appeals (CA) on Tuesday dismissed the bid for protection of former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Minister Lowell Menorca and his family for being moot and academic.

In a 13-page decision, the appeals court granted the omnibus motion filed by the INC asking for the dismissal of the writ of amparo petition filed by Menorca’s brother Anthony and sister-in-law Jungko.

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The petition was filed in October last year after Menorca and his family were taken and allegedly detained by INC after he was suspected of being Antonio Ebanghelista, the blogger who has been writing against the influential religious sect INC.

The INC sought the dismissal of the petition pointing out that the Menorca family is already out of the CA’s jurisdiction.

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Menorca and his family left for Vietnam last March after they received a threat to the life of their two-year-old daughtera family photo with the face of their daughter marked with an “X” inserted in their vehicles’ windshield.

READ: BI confirms Menorca, family left for Vietnam

The appeals court, in the decision, said the departure of Menorca and his family was the “supervening event” that rendered the case moot and academic.

“Here, the supervening event is the Menorca family’s leaving  the country; and since they are supposedly the only true beneficiaries of the instant petition, proceeding with the case would merely waste the valuable time and resources of the court,” the appeals court said.

“The actual substantial relief which the petitioner would be entitled to, i.e. the preservation of the qualify of the right to life, liberty and security afforded by the writ of amparo cannot be enforced beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Court,” the decision stated.

The CA added that the cases filed against Menorca,  such as libel and adultery, among others, cannot be considered a threat.

READ: Iglesia ni Cristo lawyer: Threat to Menorca ‘all in his mind’

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“The statements of Lowell, presumably speaking for and in behalf of his wife and child, that he cannot obtain justice in this jurisdiction and that cases will be filed against him, as indeed a couple of libel cases and an adultery case have been so filed, far from being prescient, are acts which he himself created and opened himself to, thus, he cannot cry foul over something he himself caused,” the CA said.

The CA also refused to archive the case.

It explained that archiving requires a periodic review and dismissal with prejudice can only be two years from notice to Menorca of the order archiving the case.

However, in this case, the CA said sending a notice is not possible because Menorca’s address is unknown.

On the other hand, the CA said that the case should be dismissed even if Abegail, the Menorca’s nanny, is still in the country.

The CA said the alleged kidnapping of Abegail cannot be considered a threat for she willingly joined the couple because she loved them. RAM

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TAGS: CA, Court of Appeals, Iglesia ni Cristo, INC, Lowell Menorca
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