Authorities arrest ex-INC minister Lowell Menorca II for libel

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Ex-Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca II (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Authorities arrested former Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca II on Wednesday (January 20) on charges of libel.

Menorca initially resisted the arresting officers triggering a standoff on Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

The former INC minister remained locked inside his car for an hour while surrounded by two police cars and a number of policemen. He was then persuaded to go with the police by Manila Police District (MPD) Director Rolando Nana, assuring him that he can post bail of P10,000.

Menorca underwent booking process at the MPD Station 5.

Menorca's lawyer, Atty. Trixie Cruz Angeles, told CNN Philippines that their camp did not receive a warrant of arrest prior to the detention.

"He [Menorca] did inform us that the operatives who arrested him did not show him a warrant at the start or at the outset. As a matter of fact, even now after I had visited him, I still have not seen the warrant," she said.

Authorities claimed the warrant of arrest was taken from them by Menorca's wife who apparently ran away and rode a separate car and taking the warrant with her. Menorca denied the claim of the police.

Angeles added that Menorca suffered injuries when he refused to go with the authorities, saying that her client is a little battered and complaining of some injuries.

From the police station, Menorca's lawyer quickly headed to the Court of Appeals where a 10 a.m. hearing was scheduled.

Menorca's presence was required because it was his petition for writs of habeas corpus and Amparo, which was filed after his alleged illegal detention.

Menorca believes INC leaders were behind his arrest because they want to prevent him from appearing in the court.

CNN Philippines correspondent Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.