Menorca gets another arrest warrant for libel

Niko Baua and Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2016 05:01 PM

MANILA - One day after his arrest, former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca has received another warrant of arrest over a libel case.

The second arrest warrant was issued by the Marawi Regional Trial Court (RTC). The first warrant for which he was arrested on Wednesday came from the Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte trial court.

The libel complaint before the Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte trial court was filed by INC members who are part of the church's medical and rescue units and the SCAN (Society of Communicators and Networks) International, after Menorca accused them of engaging in criminal activities.

Menorca was arrested Wednesday morning while he was on his way to the Court of Appeals (CA). He tried to resist being arrested, asking the police who were then wearing civilian clothes to present a warrant. 

He later surrendered to police on the advice of his lawyer. 

Menorca has accused the INC of having a hand in his arrest, claiming the church leadership wants to prevent him from testifying in the hearing for his petition for writs of amparo and habeas corpus. 

READ: A day before his arrest, Menorca revealed alleged INC plan to silence him

The INC, however, denied Menorca's claim. INC spokesman Edwil Zabala said that while the libel complaint against Menorca was filed by INC members, the complainants filed the case as individuals and not as representatives of the church. 

READ: We will be vindicated, INC says

The Free Legal Assistance Group has provided counsel for Menorca.

The group is now sorting out all the cases that have been filed against the expelled INC member, including the charges of resisting arrest filed by the police, and completing the requirements needed for him to post bail.

Meanwhile, Chief Inquest Prosecutor Jovencio Senados said further investigation is needed in the cops' filing of charges of resisting arrest against Menorca and charges of direct assault and obstruction of justice against his companion, Felixberto Eslava.

In a one-page review resolution, Senados said the video of Menorca's arrest, which has been aired on television, shows the arresting officers in civilian clothes while effecting his arrest.

It is because of such that Menorca resisted and was assisted by Eslava, Senados said.

He deemed that further clarification is necessary. The respondents should therefore be released from the custody of the complainant police officers, he said.

WATCH: Cop grabs Menorca as wife screams 'Tulungan niyo kami'