February 23, 2024 Jester P. Manalastas 102 views

SENIOR Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. has reminded televangelist Apollo Quiboloy that no one is above the law.

Gonzales made the statement, following Quiboloy’s continued defiance of Congress’ invitation for him to appear in the hearing and response to the allegations being hurled against him and his media entity the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

“Magkita-kita po tayo Pastor Quiboloy sa March 12,” he said, referring to the next hearing of the House committee on legislative franchises.

The House committee has subpoenaed Quiboloy after he consistently disregarded prior invitations to appear before the panel, ensuring his attendance at the hearing regarding the bill aimed at revoking the legislative franchise of SMNI.

Committee members want to question Quiboloy about his involvement in SMNI, especially since his lawyer claims he’s only the “honorary chairman” without involvement in daily operations, despite evidence suggesting he’s the “beneficial owner” of the network, which frequently airs his preachings.

Rather than confirming his attendance at the upcoming hearing, Quiboloy made unfounded and absurd claims, accusing President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., First Lady Liza Marcos, and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of colluding with the United States to abduct or assassinate him.

In a statement, Gonzales said Quiboloy’s actions indicate a desperate attempt to deflect from the issue and set the stage for potential defiance of the subpoena.

“We remind Pastor Quiboloy that he must comply with the subpoena, or we will have no choice but to hold him in contempt and proceed with his arrest,” he said.

“No one is above the law. Pastor Quiboloy is not exempt from the law,” he added.

Gonzales affirmed an earlier statement made by 1-RIDER Party-list Rep. Rodge Gutierrez, asserting that the House of Representatives is prepared to enforce contempt measures and issue an arrest warrant against Quiboloy if he continues to disregard the subpoena issued by the chamber.

Gutierrez had stated in a previous press conference, “Kapag next hearing absent po ulit siya, I think ready po ‘yung committee to cite him in contempt and seek his subsequent arrest.”

Quiboloy has been summoned to appear and testify before the House franchise committee on March 26, 2024, at 1 p.m.

The subpoena, signed by Speaker 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.”