Ex-INC minister’s house help: Leaders force my family to lie

Ex-INC minister’s house help: Leaders force my family to lie
(2nd UPDATE) 'Napakasakit po. Nagagalit ako sa mga Sanggunian,' says Abegail Yanson, house help of ex-INC minister Lowell Menorca, in a video obtained by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Abegail Yanson, the house help of former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca, insisted she was not abducted by her boss as she denied the claims of her own parents.

In a video obtained by Rappler, a tearful Yanson belied claims that Menorca abducted her. She added that the INC’s Sanggunian (Council), or top leadership, is forcing her family to lie.

Walang katotohanan na hindi ako pinapayagang umuwi,” Yanson said in the video provided by incdefenders.org. (It’s not true that I’m not allowed to go home)

Reacting to the video, INC spokesman Brother Edwil Zabala said in a text message to Rappler: “As stated earlier, we are confident that the truth shall prevail in this current controversy and that our officials will be vindicated by our judicial system. We continue to pray for all those affected by, and involved in, these cases.”

Zabala added: “Mahirap na pag-usapan ito sa media dahil ang mga taong nasasangkot lalo na ay nakapagbigay na ng kanilang mga judicial affidavits sa Court of Appeals. Ang mga bagay pong ito ay sub judice na. Ang sinuman na mangangahas na gumamit ng anumang mga pahayag na kasalukuyang dinidinig ay maaaring ma-contempt.”

(It is difficult to talk about this in media because the persons involved, most especially, have submitted their judicial affidavits to the Court of Appeals. These cases are now sub judice. Whoever dares to use any statement that is being heard, can be cited in contempt.)

Menorca faces a serious illegal detention complaint for supposedly prohibiting Yanson from seeing her family since being brought to Manila from Bulan, Sorsogon, last July. (READ: INC minister Lowell Menorca: The story of my kidnapping)

But Yanson said it was her own decision to stay. “Sinasabihan na po ako ni Ka Jinky [Menorca, wife of Lowell Menorca]: ‘Ano Abby, uuwi ka na ba?’ Pero hindi ko po kayang iwan si Ka Jinky dahil nararamdaman ko po, may mangyayaring hindi maganda sa akin o sa kay Ka Jinky kaya hindi ko po sinunod na uuwi ako. Nanatili ako sa kanila,” she said.

(Ka Jinky told me: ‘Abby, are you going home?’ But I couldn’t leave Ka Jinky behind because I already felt that something bad was going to happen to me or to Ka Jinky. That’s why I didn’t go home. I chose to stay with them.)

‘Takot silang matiwalag’

Yanson said her family, including her parents who filed the case against Menorca, are being used by the Sanggunian. “Sana palayain na po silang… hayaan ‘nyo po silang pasalitain na wala pong bantay… Masakit po para sa akin na makita ko ‘yung mga magulang ko sa TV na puro kasinungalingan ang sinasabi laban sa mag-asawa,” she said.

(Let them go. Let them speak without someone guarding them. It’s painful for me to see my parents on TV spewing lies against the Menorcas.)

Yanson added: “Napakasakit po. Nagagalit ako sa mga Sanggunian. Sobrang nagagalit po ako kasi magulang ko na po ‘yung hawak, kapatid ko… tapos po kung anu-ano po ang salitang pinagsasabi nila na alam nilang hindi totoo. Kaya po nila sinasabi ‘yun dahil tinatakot sila. Tinatakot silang matiwalag.”

(It pains me. I am angry at the Sanggunian. I am very angry because they’re controlling my parents, my sibling… and they force them to tell these lies under threat. They’re threatening to kick them out of INC.)

Tiwalag” is a term that refers to those expelled from the INC.

Yanson ended her video with a message to her parents and the INC’s leadership.

Ma, Pa… alam ‘nyo namang hindi magagawa sa akin ‘yan ng mag-asawa. Na kidnapin ako, i-detain ako, pilitin nila akong isama. Napakabait nila sa atin, sa mga kapatid, sa akin… alam ‘nyo na alam ko na hindi nila kayang gawin ‘yan sa akin. ‘Wag kayong magpagamit, sabihin ‘nyo ang totoo. Nananawagan ako sa INC, sa Sanggunian. Hayaan ‘nyo po ang magulang at kapatid ko, hayaan ‘nyo na silang magsalita ng katotohanan. Huwag ‘nyo po sanang pilitin pa sila sa mga kasinungalingan lalo na’t hindi totoo dahil ako po mismo ang kusang sumama kay Ka Jinky, sa mag-asawa.” 

(Ma, Pa, you know that the Menorca couple would never do that to me – kidnap me, detain me, force me to go with them. They’ve been so kind to us, to our brethren, to me. You know that I know they would never harm me. Don’t allow yourselves to be used, tell the truth. I call on the INC, the Sanggunian, to let my parents and sibling be. Let them speak the truth. Don’t force them to lie because I chose to stay with Ka Jinky out of my own will.) 

Detained minister 

Menorca is among the former INC officials who were supposedly ordered detained by the local church’s top brass, over a scandal that has rocked the influential religious group. His detention was allegedly because of his criticisms of the INC’s leadership, which is being accused of pocketing the group’s funds for their own benefit.

The Menorca family – Lowell, Jinky, and other members of their household – were rescued late October after months of supposedly being held against their will inside the INC compound in Quezon City.

The Supreme Court later on issued writs of habeas corpus and amparo for Menorca, his wife, Yanson, and Yurie Keiko Otsuka.

Menorca’s lawyer, Trixie Cruz Angeles, previously told the Court of Appeals that a woman, supposedly from the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, had tried to force Yanson to come with her during the hour-long recess in the proceedings. Angeles said this was proof that her clients need the protection offered by a writ of amparo.

The INC’s lawyer belied those claims, saying the commotion was only because Yanson’s mother was stopped from approaching her daughter. Yanson herself said she did not know the woman who approached her. 

The serious illegal detention case against Menorca was filed the day after Menorca faced the CA for the first hearing on the former minister’s petition for writs of habeas corpus and amparo. – Rappler.com

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