February 25, 2024 People's Journal 61 views

Quiboloy tests Congress’ patience

THE self-proclaimed “appointed son of God” televangelist Apollo Quiboloy is pushing the limits of tolerance within the Senate and the House of Representatives, both of which have issued a subpoena against him.

This action comes after he disregarded multiple invitations to participate in congressional hearings involving Quiboloy’s religious sect Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) and broadcast firm Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

Senator Risa Hontiveros, serving as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, issued a stern warning, indicating that Quiboloy could face arrest should he fail to appear at the panel’s third hearing scheduled for March 5.

“Binabalaan ko sila, ‘pag hindi sila nagpakita sa susunod na hearing, March 5, isa-cite ko sila in contempt, paaaresto ko siya,” Hontiveros said, referring to the KOJC leader.

The Senate panel is currently investigating allegations of human trafficking, rape, and instances of sexual and physical abuse reportedly perpetrated by Quiboloy within his congregation at KOJC, allegedly under the guise of enforcing obedience.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the Committee on Legislative Franchises has summoned Quiboloy to testify on March 12 at a hearing concerning a bill aimed at revoking the legislative franchise of SMNI.

The decision to summon Quiboloy stems from a series of alleged violations by SMNI, including the dissemination of fake news, engaging in red-tagging, and serious corporate offenses.

The subpoena, signed by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair and Parañaque City 2nd Dirstrict Rep. Gus S. Tambunting, and House Secretary General Reginald Velasco, reminded Quiboloy that his “failure to comply with this Order will constrain the Committee to resort to Section 11 of the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation of the House of Representatives on the power of contempt.”

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, vice chair of the House franchise panel, earlier warned of possible arrest for Quiboloy if he continues to skip committee hearings.

Pimentel outlined the committee’s next steps under House rules if Quiboloy fails to attend the next hearing.

“Under our House rules, we can cite him for contempt for non-appearance or non-cooperation. If he continues to evade the hearings, we will request Speaker Martin (Romualdez) to issue a warrant of arrest,” explained Pimentel.

Pimentel underscored the precedent for such actions by drawing parallels with past cases, particularly the congressional inquiry into the alleged involvement of former Senator Leila De Lima in illegal drugs.

He recalled that during that time, then-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez issued a warrant of arrest against De Lima’s alleged bagman and driver, Ronnie Dayan, for failing to comply with the committee’s summons.

“A similar course of action could be pursued if Quiboloy persists in his absence from the hearings, despite the issuance of a subpoena and potential contempt proceedings,” Pimentel warned.