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Court convicts ex-INC member

DISCREDITED ex-Iglesia Ni Cristo member Rovic Canono, who fled to Canada while facing a string of criminal charges in the Philippines, was recently convicted by a Quezon City court of the crime of violence against women and children (VAWC) under RA 9262 and was meted out the penalty of four years imprisonment.

In a 13-page decision promulgated last month, RTC QC Judge Jacqueline Martin-Balictar declared Canono guilty beyond reasonable doubt of numerous acts of physical and psychological violence against his wife, a medical doctor, and their minor daughter.

Canono’s verbal and physical abuse, according to the decision, started on the couple’s wedding day itself, when he called his wife after their reception ceremony “Pangit ka, laki ng ilong mo!” and repeatedly yelling that she was fat and “tae, walang kuwenta.”

The court made a long enumeration of instances of violence, such as when Canono slapped his wife hard inside their vehicle while she was five months pregnant with their child, shouting “gusto mo patayin ko yang anak mo!” on their way home from a hospital checkup.

The couple’s daughter was slapped and dropped to the ground on several occasions because she easily annoyed Canono, according to the estranged wife and witnesses who testified during court proceedings.

Canono’s violent streak even extended to the wife’s family, the decision noted, citing the incident when he and a male friend mauled his father-in-law, also a doctor, left him sprawled on the floor outside the latter’s condominium, and mockingly laughed at him before both left. On top of the physical and verbal abuse, Canono also kept a mistress who stayed at his parents’ house and was introduced to everyone as the former INC member’s “girlfriend.”

The convicted felon fled the country even before court hearings could start, prompting the court to hold trial in absentia.

Canono was earlier found guilty of concubinage in 2019 in a separate case involving a different mistress, with the trial court declaring him criminally liable for “engaging in sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances” and cited the testimony of a house helper who claimed the two lived together in a small studio-type condominium unit and allowed her “to watch them doing their thing.”

The fugitive is still facing several active libel cases in various local jurisdictions in the Philippines.

Canono gained notoriety in 2015 when he and fellow discredited INC member Lowell Menorca exposed supposed irregular activities in the homegrown Filipino church.

Menorca was also indicted on libel charges plus one involving adultery. His paramour Aedtnavye Lazo was apprehended by authorities in Cebu last year for failing to appear in court.

Both jumped bail during the ongoing criminal cases and secretly fled to Canada, with Menorca arriving in 2017 and Canono arriving thereafter upon the prodding of Menorca.

Canono’s wife stated after the judgment promulgation in the VAWC case that she was glad to have obtained justice “for her and her abused and emotionally-scarred child” but lamented that her abusive and philandering husband was “not man enough to face the consequences of his crime.”###

Publication Source :    People's Journal