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Attempt to ‘rescue’ Menorca’s nanny foiled

A “rescue” attempt during the hearing of the writ of habeas corpus and amparo petitions filed against the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) was foiled after the woman being “rescued” refused to go with the supposed rescuer.

Trixie Cruz-Angeles, counsel for former INC minister Lowell Menorca who filed the petitions, bared the attempt to “rescue” Abegail Yanson, the 24-year-old nanny of Menorca’s child.

She said a woman approached Yanson and tried to take her away during a break in the Court of Appeals (CA) hearing.

“May sumugod po dun sa kasama naming si Ms. Abegail Yanson at pilit kinukuha. Inakbayan sya ng isang nakaputi at later on napag-alaman namin na sya ay isang officer daw ng CIDG (Criminal Investigation Detection Group),” Angeles told reporters during a break in the hearing.

She did not say, however, who gave the information.

Days before the hearing, the INC claimed that Yanson was being held against her will by Menorca and forced to testify for them.

Rosalie, Yanson’s mother, appeared in the INC-controlled television station to appeal for the release of Abegail.

How the woman managed to get inside the appellate court building on Orosa Street, Manila baffled Menorca’s lawyer.

“From what I understand, hindi namin maintindihan kung paano nakapasok dito at meron pa nga nag-allege na pumasok dito as lawyer for the petitioners. Wala pong ipinapakitang warrant o court order at di namin alam kung paano sila pinapasok. Maliwanag na may panggagamit dito pero suffice it to say na malaki na ang pangangarag sa mga kliyente namin,” Angeles said.

The lawyer said they received information that a warrant of arrest would be served on Menorca after the hearing despite the fact that there is no case pending against her client.

“Not that we know of any certainty (case against Menorca). We know of certain incidents that might give rise to a possibility, pero kung totoo man ’yun at kung meron man, wala syang notice of any preliminary investigation. So since walang preliminary investigation, quashable ’yung warrant kung meron,” she explained.

Angeles said these incidents are part of the pattern of harassment and threats received by her client.

“Isa lang ang interpretasyon namin dito. Tuloy ang pangha-harass at kailangan talaga namin ng writ of amparo,” she added.

Angeles said Abegail’s refusal to go with the alleged woman officer is proof that she’s not being forced to testify for Menorca.

“Kanina nung ina-attempt syang kunin, tinanggihan ni Abegail at sinabi nya na hindi ho ako sasama so maliwanag ito na kinakasangkapan ang kanyang magulang,” the lawyer said.

Angeles said Abegail’s sister is also with her in their safe house and is also willing to testify on who is being restrained.

“Ang totoo nyan ang kapatid ni Abegail kasama namin sa safe house. May kwento din sya kung sino ba ang nire-restrain. Sino ba dito ang kinuha, obviously hindi si Abegail kasi hindi naman sila uma-ngal nung nasa loob sya ng Central Compound at di sya hinanap. Tapos ngayong kumalat ang balita, bigla na lang syang hahanapin at sasabihin na pinipilit sya mag-stay sa pamilya Menorca,” Angeles said.

Interviewed on GMA 7 Monday night, Abegail said the INC may have threatened her parents and that may have been the reason why they said she was being held against her will by Menorca.

“Huwag na po sana nilang takutin o pilitin pagsalitain po ng alam nilang hindi naman totoo,” Abegail said.

There was no immediate comment from INC Edwil Zabala. (LEONARDO POSTRADO)

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