“If the INC has death squads, who are their victims? Where are the bodies?”
These were the questions raised by lawyer Harry Roque, who on Thursday said allegations that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is employing death squads should be supported with proof.
He was reacting to the claim of former INC minister Lowell Menorca 2nd that the religious group is using hitmen to harass its members.
“Menorca’s legal counsel would do well to advise him to exercise restraint with his public statements, given the gravity of his allegations,” Roque, the counsel of the family of Jennifer Laude, said.
He said that while Menorca gave details regarding the alleged “death squads,” he found it strange that “Menorca could not name a single victim.”
“If I were to publicly accuse someone of maintaining a stable of killers, the first thing I would do to support the allegation is rattle off a list of its purported victims,” said the lawyer, a professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
“How can you investigate a murder if no one has died?” he stressed.
Roque stressed that the more damaging a public accusation, “the greater the burden of the accuser to prove this is true.”
“The reputation of a religious institution and its leaders are on the line. Menorca’s accusations sound like something out of a Dan Brown novel, and it would be horribly unjust if his allegations are based on nothing more than an urban myth,” he added.
“Did he hear about them or did he actually see them in action? Malaking distinction yan. (That’s a big distinction.) His lawyer is doing him a great disservice by letting him bring what could possibly be a very weak case to the public,” he said.
“Maybe on TV that accusation can fly; but in court it won’t.”