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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Davao court orders Quiboloy arrest; 3 nabbed

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A Davao City court has ordered the arrest of Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) founder Apollo C. Quiboloy after it failed to get a resolution from the Department of Justice on the televangelist’s appeal to reverse the DOJ ruling indicting him of committing several crimes.

Meanwhile, authorities arrested a barangay chairman and a church associate of Quiboloy, while two others surrendered on Wednesday.

These came after the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police served a warrant issued by the Davao court against Quiboloy and five others in connection with a child abuse and sexual abuse case.

The NBI placed three of the accused — Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, and Sylvia Cemañes – under its custody. The bureau’s agents arrested Cresente, the village chairman, in Barangay Tamayong, where the KOJC is based, while Paulene Canada and Cemañes surrendered to authorities.

Former KOJC members identified Cresente as Quiboloy’s close aide who served as the preacher’s driver and bodyguard.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who presided over the chamber’s investigation into the charges against the controversial pastor, believes Quiboloy’s “happy days are numbered.”

“Bilang na ang masasayang araw ni Apollo Quiboloy. Halos lahat na ng institusyon sa Pilipinas ay gumagalaw para mapanagot siya (Happy days are numbered for Apollo Quiboloy. Almost every institution in the Philippines is moving to hold him accountable),” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Presiding Judge Dante Baguio ordered the arrest of Quiboloy and five of his co-accused over allegations of child abuse. The warrant was signed last Monday, April 1.

“As what was earlier determined upon judicious examination and perusal of information where it found probable cause, let the warrants of arrest already issued be implemented immediately,” stated the order of Judge Baguio.

The judge recalled that he issued a March 14 order that “found probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest” against Quiboloy.

However, Baguio said the lawyers of Quiboloy filed a motion to defer or suspend the issuance of the arrest warrant due to the pending motion for reconsideration before the DOJ, which was asked to reconsider filing the charges before the RTC.

DOJ prosecutors filed before the RTC charges against Quiboloy for violating Sections 10(a) and 5(b) of Republic Act (RA) No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act concerning alleged sexual abuses committed in 2011 against a female who was then 17 years old.

The judge said he granted the motion of Quiboloy’s lawyers while awaiting the DOJ’s resolution of the motion for reconsideration.

“Now that more than reasonable time has lapsed, the Court did not receive any resolution of the accused’ Motion for Reconsideration by the Department of Justice neither a copy of the same was furnished to the Court by accused’ counsels nor a manifestation was duly filed, at the very least,” the RTC judge stressed.

“The Court mindful of the equally situated rights of both the prosecution and defense, which may include among others, the speedy disposition and speedy trial of cases, either of which or both, said right imposes an imperative task that this Court is indebted to fulfill,” he added.

Quiboloy and his fellow respondents—Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, Ingrid Canada, and Sylvia Semanes—reportedly failed to issue a motion for reconsideration, prompting the re-issuance of the arrest warrant.

Hontiveros noted that the PNP in Davao previously expressed its willingness to work with other law enforcement agencies in arresting the KOJC leader.

“I trust that this will be fulfilled and Quiboloy will be captured,” she said.

Hontiveros expects the notorious KOJC head to appear in her next hearing once he is arrested. She chairs the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality that currently investigates allegations of sexual abuse, among other violations, against Quiboloy.

The senator also appealed to the embattled preacher to avoid “acting out” and stop running away from his legal obligations.

“(Quiboloy) should just cooperate and properly answer the accusations hurled against him. If he is not at fault, there is no need for him to hide,” Hontiveros added.

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