Canada grants asylum to Iglesia Ni Cristo dissident
VANCOUVER, BC — Canada has granted refugee status to a Filipino evangelist who’s on the run from the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) church after he claimed that he was being targeted for murder.
INC dissident Lowell Menorca II received refugee status after the Immigration and Refugee Board found that the church “is motivated by a vendetta” has “both the means and the motivation to seriously harm or kill” him.
“I was ecstatic. I was overcome with joy. I cried and I cried, and thanked God that finally this was the vindication I was praying for, ” Menorca told CBC of the IRB’s findings. Menorca had been expelled from the church, which has expanded internationally.
Menorca’s application for special entry includes his then-pregnant wife Jinky, two-year-old daughter Yuri Keiko, sister-in-law Jungko Otsuka, brother Anthony Menorca and his wife Shayne, and their house help Abegail Yanson, according to a report by the Asian Pacific Post. The family fled Manila about two years ago.
“We confirmed reports the people who were responsible for our kidnapping and illegal detention are out of the country and actively searching for my family to use them against me,” Menorca said in a six-page letter he had sent to the IRB.
He attached to his letter screengrabs of supposed Facebook posts by INC members taunting the family with their photos at airports in Vietnam and Thailand to prove they were being tailed.
Menorca’s plea for refugee status came after the Court of Appeals in Manila threw out the family’s bid for court protection, as the case was rendered moot by the family’s departure from the Philippines. The INC had allegedly detained them for three months at its Central Office in Quezon City.
Menorca was among ten INC workers and ministers abducted after being suspected of being behind online exposes of corruption among top leaders of the politically influential sect.