CA affirms dismissal of Menorca’s bid for protection
The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed its April 2016 decision dismissing the bid for protection of former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca and his family.
In a three-page resolution made public Tuesday, the appeals court 7th Division said petitioners Anthony, Lowell’s brother, and sister-in-law Jungko Otsuka failed to raise new issues in their motion for reconsideration that would warrant a reversal of their April ruling.
“After due consideration, it has become manifestly clear that petitioners’ arguments are mere reiterations of points and issues which were discussed and addressed in the Resolution sought to be reconsidered and since no new matter and argument had been raised, we find no cogent reason to justify the modification, amendment or reversal of our ruling,” said the appeals court, through Associate Justice Victoria Isabel A. Paredes.
The appeals court explained that it will not determine questions that have already become moot and academic “because there is no longer any justiciable controversy to speak of.”
“The judgment will not serve any useful purpose or have any practical legal effect because, in the nature of things, it cannot be enforced,” the appeals court added.
The petition was filed on 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 INC.
The INC sought the dismissal of the petition pointing out that the Menorca family is already out of the CA’s jurisdiction.
Menorca and his family left for Vietnam last March after they received a threat to the life of their two-year-old daughter—a family photo with the face of their daughter marked with an “X” inserted in their vehicles’ windshield.
The appeals court, in its April 2016 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 quality 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—libel, adultery, among others — cannot be considered threats.
Concurring with the resolution are Associate Justices Magdangal M. De Leon and Elihu a. Ybañez. RAM/rga
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