INC minister Lowell Menorca: The story of my kidnapping
Abducted and rescued, former Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca recounts the ordeal he survived. This is his story in his own words.
(Editor's Note: This is based on Lowell Menorca's narration made during his October 25 press conference at the Bayview Hotel in Manila. He has been expelled from the Iglesia ni Cristo since his kidnapping made it to the news.)
I was kidnapped in Sorsogon. It was ironically this same suit I’m wearing that I wore when I officiated the worship service. It was right after the worship service that I realized the district minister Ernesto Mabasa, the KSKP minister Renato Sacdalan, and the technical minister Bien Sebastian were accomplices in the kidnapping.
They were with me when we officiated the worship service, after which I changed into a barong and I was surprised for the first time since I was assigned in that locale, there were no brethren inside, after the worship service. That’s very unusual because a lot of people there – especially it’s a remote province – they would hang around the vicinity for a while.
I went outside. I saw the police officers. If I’m not mistaken, there were around 3 uniformed officers wearing the badge of QCPD [Quezon City Police District] and 3 officers in civilian clothes. One of them I recognized, and if I’m not mistaken, his surname is Suba. I’m just not sure if he’s a police officer but he's a brethren and I've known him because he was one of the security inside Central before.
They approached me with long rifles, they pounded at me, and they kept on shouting, “Dapa! Dapa! Dapa kung ayaw mong masaktan (Get down! Get down! Get down, if you don’t want to get hurt)."
I was thinking to myself, I wouldn’t drop down because I was wearing a barong, I had no intention of running. I’m no Superman, I couldn’t fly, so I just bowed my head and prayed. They approached me and put the handcuffs behind me, frisked me and then put a jacket on my head, covered me up and dragged me all the way outside. I was able to get a glimpse of the whole chapel compound, surrounded by police officers, and there were a lot of non-members there too.
I was dragged into a high-end ambulance, and then swiftly, they convoyed outside, put me in another vehicle, which is a coaster, a high-end coaster. Inside, the first person I easily recognized was a minister, Benefrido Santiago. He was the team leader of the operation, and then there were also armed, heavily-armed and uniformed people inside, and the one driving the vehicle was another minister, Roldan Gavino.