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Dismiss petitions, Iglesia asks CA

The leaders of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) asked the Court of Appeals (CA) yesterday to dismiss the petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo filed by the relatives of an expelled minister against the leaders of the church.

During the hearing conducted by the CA, the INC leaders filed their verified return of the writ (answer to the petition) as ordered by the Supreme Court (SC) which remanded the case to the appellate court for hearing and resolution.

The church leaders said the petition has been rendered moot and academic since the expelled minister Lowell Menorca II and members of his family were no longer in the church’s custody which they requested.

“Pursuant to settled jurisprudence, the events that transpired subsequent to the filing of the petition have rendered the Writs of Amparo and Habeas Corpus moot and academic,” they said.

Given the admissions of Mr. Menorca and petitioners’ counsel that Menorca et al are no longer in the custody of the INC, the petition as well as the Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo are now moot and academic,” they stressed.

Thus, they said, “there is no basis to claim that there is an imminent or continuing restriction on the Menorcas’ lives, liberty and security.”

At the same time, they told the CA that the “petition does not make any specific allegations as to the precise nature, manner and extend of involvement of each of the named respondents in the acts complained of.”

During the hearing, the Menorcas – through their lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles – told the CA of a plan to arrest his client on a three-year-old case.

But Angeles said they will contest the arrest warrant since they were not aware of any preliminary investigation on the case “whatever it is.”

She pointed out that an arrest warrant that did not go through the regular process is “quashable” or dismissable.

The Menorca camp submitted several affidavits to support their petition. Angeles sought and was granted until tomorrow to submit additional affidavits.

The hearing will resume on Wednesday next week. (REY PANALIGAN)