Inquirer’s ‘short grasp’ of Menorca’s arrest
The question mark in the Inquirer’s Jan. 22 editorial (“Iglesia’s long arm?”) is right where it should be. For there is a lot to question the (dis)information being spread against the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). Here are some of the questionable assertions:
Lowell Menorca, an ex-minister?
Why is it that the Inquirer could make a big deal about the obvious typo in the arrest warrant (a simple mistyping of “III” instead of “II”) and, yet, not correct the bigger error of misbranding him as a former INC minister? Did it even bother asking Menorca whether he was ever ordained as a minister of the INC or just one who sought but failed to become one?
Not legal redress?
The editorial stated that “A libel case in Lanao del Norte against someone who lives in Quezon City is not legal redress, but pure retaliation.” So, should someone in Lanao who feels he has been libeled go all the way to Quezon City to file his case because it is where his slanderer frequents and is familiar with?
Unaware of the libel case?
The Inquirer believes Menorca and his lawyers’ claim that they were unaware of the libel case, even though Menorca and lawyer Trixie Angeles had admitted hearing about it beforehand in social media. Menorca in a previous interview even made an apology to the members of the Society of Communicators and Networkers whom Menorca accused of being a death squad. His apology, however, came with a threat that he would countersue if they would not withdraw their libel complaint. Who is intimidating who?
What is more curiously phrased: stating the overlooked fact that it is the police, not the INC, who served the warrant, or Menorca coming up with another accusation against the INC in resisting arrest from the law enforcers? How conveniently played is it that Menorca could continue falsely accusing the INC and its members of any wrongdoing he can think of, but he does not want to be held liable for what he says?
Since when has it been unlawful for police officers in plainclothes to serve a warrant of arrest, and grab a suspect who refuses arrest? Is that as unlawful as grabbing and crumpling the warrant from the police officers, kicking them while resisting arrest, as what Menorca, his wife and their companions did? Menorca’s wife herself posted on her social media account the crumpled warrant of arrest.
By hinging on a prejudiced view of the INC, the editorial succeeds in showing a shortsighted grasp of not only how arrest warrants are to be served but also what the law provides as options for individuals or groups being maligned in public to seek justice. It seems to advocate that those unfairly accused in media have no other option than to let themselves be dragged into the circus court of public opinion.
—MARLEX C. CANTOR, Iglesia ni Cristo minister, and editorial associate, Pasugo magazine