spot_img
29.5 C
Philippines
Monday, May 27, 2024

Quiboloy is still in the country, not in hiding, legal counsel says

- Advertisement -

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy is still in the Philippines and not in hiding, his legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said.

Topacio, in an interview, also said Quiboloy “is just taking precautions to ensure his safety.”

The controversial religious leader faces a Senate inquiry into his alleged sexual abuses against Kingdom of Jesus Christ members and a House probe into alleged franchise violations of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), a media outlet associated with him.

When asked about the pastor’s unfounded claims of threats to his life and other allegations, Topacio said these were “borne out by recent events,” citing the suspension of SMNI’s license and the congressional hearings.

The Department of Justice (DOJ said Monday that there has been no request from the US government for Quiboloy’s extradition, which, in any case would need to pass through several layers of the bureaucracy.

Topacio did not provide or cite evidence to Quiboloy’s claims, saying “clandestine operations rarely have any evidence but it can be inferred from the pattern.”

Topacio also said in the interview that Quiboloy’s legal team will meet on Tuesday to consult the pastor about their next legal move.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who leads the Senate probe into Quiboloy, has warned that the religious leader risks arrest if he still does not physically attend the next hearing set on March 5.

Topacio said that the law does not grant absolute power to any Senate committee to issue a subpoena.

Hontiveros earlier urged  Quiboloy to face the Senate investigation and reminded him “that no one was above the law.”

Hontiveros, who leads the Senate investigation into the matter, told Quiboloy that the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality had the power to compel the attendance of witnesses “no matter how well-connected they are.”

“In the past, Cabinet officials, lawmakers, an incumbent Senate President, and even a former President have submitted to Senate subpoenas and appeared as witnesses. His constitutional rights, like
all witnesses, are respected. Pero hindi siya mataas pa sa presidente, sa Senado, at sa batas (But he is not above the president, the Senate, and the law),” Hontiveros said in a statement.

The subpoena issued against Quiboloy was formally served last week.

The subpoena ad testificandum was prepared on Feb. 14 and was signed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Feb. 19, Hontiveros’ office earlier said.

The subpoena was issued after Quiboloy skipped the hearing of the
Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, which is probing the alleged abuses being linked to KOJC.

Quiboloy earlier said he would not submit himself to the Senate
inquiry and would only face the allegations against him before the
courts.

Hontiveros had already warned Quiboloy that he would be arrested if he failed to attend the next Senate hearing.

In a voice message posted on social media earlier this week, Quiboloy accused the United States government, with help from local officials, of plotting to eliminate him.

The controversial religious leader is facing various cases in the US,
including trafficking and bulk cash smuggling.

The House of Representatives had also issued a subpoena against
Quiboloy, directing him to appear before the congressional inquiry
into the call to revoke the franchise of Swara Sug Media Corporation,
which operates Sonshine Media Network International.

LATEST NEWS

Popular Articles