INC Ex-Minister Lowell Menorca exposes alleged detainment, maltreatment of INC officials

At a time when we thought that the movie release of  Iglesia ni Cristo founder Felix Manalo biopic will end the controversies revolving around the religion sect, well, we are definitely wrong as Former INC minister Lowell Menorca II finally exposed in an uploaded video that the top officials threatened and illegally detained him and his family to cover the truth.

Lawyer Trixie Angeles posted on her Facebook page that Menorca and his family have been been finally rescued after seven months.  Details on how they have been rescued was not still disclosed until now.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 8.19.34 PM

However, Angeles  revealed that the rescue operations for Menorca had been critical as there were members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the side of the INC. Menorca and his wife, infant child and household helper were rescued by another law enforcement agency.


Lowell Menorca

In a video exclusively sent to Rappler, Menorca said  that they did not request the INC to keep them under protective custody in the premises of the central compound.

Kaya po nila ginawa ‘yun sapagka’t ginamit nila ang pagkakataon na ‘yun na alisin ako sa kulungan, ilagay ako sa isang controlled environment na kung saan maaari nila akong puntahan anytime, kausapin, i-interrogate, at makuha nila ‘yung mga impormasyon na gusto nilang makuha mula sa akin patungkol sa mga panulat ni Antonio Ebangelista….“, he told.

The blog owned by Ebangelista, a pen name, have been radical in criticizing the Iglesia leadership and have exposed abuses and corruption issues inside the religion.

Menorca further explained why he falsified earlier claims by his brother Anthony that he was abducted. According to him, everything he said in an interview aired on the Iglesia-owned Net 25, was “scripted.”

He said he was briefed by Iglesia member Roland Esguerra, political liaison Eraño “Erdz” Codera, INC spokesman Edwil Zabala, Net 25’s Weng de la Fuente, and TJ Orosa (short for Theoben Jerd, son-in-law of executive minister Eduardo Manalo). He was told things he was allowed to say.

“Lahat ng narinig ninyo at sa iba pang interview, lahat po ‘yun ay scripted.”

lowell-menorca net 25

He added that he followed what he was told to do because he feared for his and his household’s safety.


In a report posted in Rappler, Menorca said that was previously arrested in Cavite for alleged illegal possession of an explosive. He was released from the Dasmariñas jail on July 26. 

According to him, during that time, some INC members was abducted, and that the charge was only a cover story.

In mid-July, Menorca said he was called in to report at the district office because he had failed to read a certain passage while officiating a worship service.

He was told that the only way for him to resolve the problem was to write a statement pointing to the estranged sibling of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo as the culprit behind several critical blog posts circulating online at the time.

Menorca refused, and was later told that he would be given a second chance by the INC leader.

But after one worship service, Menorca said he found a group of armed men, purportedly including members of the Quezon City police, waiting for him.

Habang papasok sila at nakita nilang nakita ko na sila ay patakbo silang pumunta sa akin na sumisigaw ng ‘Dapa! Dapa kung ayaw mong masaktan.’ Nakatutok ang lahat ng kanilang baril sa akin,” Menorca said.

The former minister said he was then forced into a waiting car, along with 5 policemen and Ka Benefrido Santiago, allegedly the team leader of the operation.

While on the road, Menorca said he was repeatedly questioned and interrogated about Antonio Ebangelista, a pen name of a blogger critical of the INC leadership. He was also asked to name others opposing the church.

Menorca, however, said he didn’t know any of the people behind the online aliases. He also offered to take the blame if only to spare his wife and child from threats against their lives.

“They can shoot me if they want, they can kill me if they want, just leave my wife and my daughter alone. I asked where they were, they couldn’t tell me, they tried to pacify me with words, saying, ‘Okay lang sila‘ (They’re okay),” he recalled.

For 17 hours, Menorca said he endured repeated questions and tight handcuffs cutting into his wrists.

“I asked them repeatedly to loosen the handcuffs because it hurt so much, my shoulders were about to fall off, my hands were bleeding. I kept on begging the police officers to even just remove my handcuffs, I’m not gonna fight them, they were all with guns,” he said.

Menorca also recalled an attempt to kill him, after a hand grenade was thrown into the seat beside him while on the road to Dasmariñas.

The grenade, however, didn’t go off. A police officer was then sent to finish the job by shooting him, but Menorca said he was able to beg for his life.

“He told me that he is willing to let me live because he cannot bear to kill an innocent man… He told me that he will let me live if I can promise that I will agree to whatever charge he will give me in prison, and that I will not make a scandal,” Menorca said.


Menorca also said he hoped that truth shall cleanse INC if the members of the Iglesia would stand by truth itself.

“Wala tayong dapat ikatakot lalo na kung totoo ang ating sinasabi. Sana po mga kapatid, magtulung-tulong tayo, ipanalangin natin sa ating Panginoong Diyos na tulungan ang paglilinis na ginagawa ngayon ng Iglesia alang-alang na rin sa kapayapaan at kaligtasan ng lahat ng kapatid.”

“Kaya namin tinitindigan ito, mga kapatid, para na rin sa napakaraming kapatid na ginagawan nila ng ganito, para na rin sa napakaraming kapatid na hindi makapagsalita at hanggang ngayon ay natatakot pa rin sa maaring gawin sa kanila, lalung-lalo na ang pagtitiwalag,” Menorca said that he is aware that his expose will expel him from INC but worth it for the truth.