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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A defiant Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the embattled leader of the Davao-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), accused Senator Risa Hontiveros of violating his constitutional rights even as he refused to attend her committee’s hearing on the alleged abuses done against his former followers.
In an audio recording posted on the Facebook page Buhay Kingdom 2024 on Wednesday, January 24, Quiboloy called the former workers, who testified about the alleged abuses they suffered at the hands of the preacher when they served the KOJC, as “bogus witnesses.”
Quiboloy also called Tuesday’s public inquiry by Hontiveros’ Senate committee “bogus,” and that it “turned a monster out of me.”
Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, has issued a subpoena to Quiboloy after the preacher ignored the initial hearing in an expected series of committee sessions addressing alleged sexual and other abuses within the Davao-based group.
But Quiboloy remained firm in his decision to defy the Senate committee’s order.
“I will not subject myself to a bogus hearing and to bogus witnesses if they cannot stand (by) their word… I will not subject myself to injustices done (under) the cloak of a Senate hearing,” Quiboloy said.
He questioned one of the witnesses, “Amanda,” who testified during Tuesday’s proceedings at the Senate, claiming that his group had identified her as the same woman who brought him to “court” a few years back.
He said Amanda’s accusations were all “proven lies.”
Quiboloy asserted that the “case” has been appealed by the former KOJC member before the Department of Justice (DOJ), and discussing her allegations before the Senate committee was sub judice.
Rappler, however, learned that Amanda’s complaint, filed before the Davao prosecutor’s office in 2019, which included charges of rape, qualified trafficking in person, and child abuse against Quiboloy, never reached a court.
In legal terms, sub judice means that a matter is currently under consideration by a court. This restricts public discussions or comments on the case to avoid prejudicing the legal proceedings and ensuring a fair trial.
During the hearing, Amanda testified that she was a minor when Quiboloy allegedly first sexually abused her, under the belief that it was a form of body sacrifice and that it was God’s will. At the time, she was serving as one of Quiboloy’s “pastorals,” female workers who run errands for the KOJC leader, and some of whom allegedly engage in sexual relations with the preacher.
Quiboloy dismissed the accusations leveled against him during the Senate committee hearing as “criminal.” He said that while Hontiveros enjoyed parliamentary immunity, the witnesses were susceptible to libel charges.
“Pambababoy ang ginawa ninyo sa reputasyon ko (You have tarnished my reputation),” said Quiboloy, daring Hontiveros to assist the witnesses in bringing him to court.
He said, “Kahit ako’y anak ng Diyos, ako’y under sa batas ng lupa, at doon ko kayo sasagutin sapagkat doon merong fair play (Even though I am a son of God, I am under the laws of the land, and there [court] I will respond to you because there is fair play).”
Quiboloy added, “In the law, the guilt and the innocence of any person is not determined by a Senate hearing but it is only determined by a competent court of law. Doon po kami patas ang laban; doon po kami puedeng sumagot sa inyo (There, we can have a fair fight; there, we can answer you).”
He said Hontiveros “convicted” him during the hearing by entertaining “innuendoes” meant to smear his “international reputation” as the leader of the KOJC.
Addressing Hontiveros, Quiboloy said, “If you cannot do that (go to court)… then you don’t deserve my respect. Because you don’t respect my constitutional rights, then I will not also respect your office as a senator.”
Quiboloy also denied ever using his political connections to evade his impending trial in the United States where he and several of his associates were indicted in late 2021 for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; sex trafficking of children; marriage fraud; fraud and misuse of visas; bulk cash smuggling; promotional money laundering; concealment of money laundering; and international promotional money laundering.
Not once, he asserted, did he ask former president Rodrigo Duterte to help him out.
Quiboloy, who is wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is a known close friend of Duterte, whom he also served as a “spiritual adviser.” – Rappler.com