Senate of the Philippines

Senate orders arrest of Quiboloy. What happens next?

Bonz Magsambol

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Senate orders arrest of Quiboloy. What happens next?

Raffy de Guzman

If doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy submits to the arrest order, he would be under the upper chamber's custody until the next Senate hearing is set

MANILA, Philippines – For the legal counsel of doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy, the controversial Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader should not appear before any congressional inquiry into his alleged human rights abuses.

“We explained to him the legal position on why he should not attend the Senate hearings. First of all, it brazenly violated his constitutional bill of rights. The Senate hearing is tantamount to usurpation of judicial authority,” lawyer Elvis Balayan said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart on Wednesday, March 20.

Balayan noted, however, that the decision to yield to the Senate following the arrest order is for Quiboloy to decide.

“We respect the decision of the Senate. But of course, pastor Quiboloy will exhaust all legal remedies to protect his constitutional right. As to pending arrest, that’s the personal decision of Pastor Quiboloy. We have given him legal advice on how to deal with legal issues,” Balayan said.

The Senate on Tuesday, March 19, ordered the arrest of Quiboloy for “unduly refusing to appear” at the upper chamber’s inquiries led by Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros.

The Senate Sergeant-At-Arms is expected to carry out the order any time on Wednesday. Senate President Migz Zubiri said that the “purpose of the order of arrest is not to punish but to make the inquiry potent and compelling.”

‘Just comply’

Section 18 of the Senate rules on panel investigations provides that a “contempt of the Committee shall be deemed a contempt of the Senate.”

The rules also provide that “such witness may be ordered by the Committee to be detained in such place as it may designate under the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms until he/she agrees to produce the required documents, or to be sworn or to testify, or otherwise purge himself/herself of that contempt.”

The Senate President said that if Quiboloy decides to appear in the next hearing of the Senate committee on women children, family relations, and gender, “there will be no need to order his arrest.”

“The best is mag-comply lang po sila. Pumunta siya dito (The best action is for them to comply. He should come here). We will ensure him that it will be fair that his rights will be respected, that there will be no harm that will come to him,” Zubiri said.

What if Quiboloy resists Senate arrest? Zubiri refused to comment.

‘Trial by publicity’

Balayan said that his legal advice to Quiboloy is to never attend any inquiry initiated by the Senate.

“The Pastor never disrespected the Senate. We were just saying that the Pastor cannot be juked to appearing in a trial by publicity,” he said.

“The Senate is not the dispenser of justice in this country. Only the courts can declare the guilty or innocence of Pastor Quiboloy,” Balayan added.

Asked if Quiboloy is still in the Philippines, Balayan said that the controversial preacher never left the country.

“He’s still in the Philippines. He’s more than willing to appear provided in a proper forum, that’s before the courts. Not in the Senate, where trial by publicity [happens],” he said.

Senate ready to secure Quiboloy

If Quiboloy submits to the Senate, he would be under its custody until the next hearing of the Senate panel is set.

“Lagi namang ipinakita sa nakaraan and at any moment. Nananalig ako na handa ang buong Senado at anumang bahagi niya alagaan. At panghawakan ang siguridad ninumang resource person na aming paarestohin at pa-a-appearin sa isang Senate hearing,” Hontiveros said.

(The Senate has shown in the past that it’s always ready. I’m trusting that the whole Senate is ready and any part of him will be taken care of. The Senate is always ready to secure the safety of its resource person whenever arrested or summoned to appear in a Senate hearing.)

The Hontiveros panel has yet to announce the date of the next hearing. However, the opposition senator already said that the Anti-Money Laundering Council will be one of the resource persons in the next inquiry because of a witness’ testimony that her savings account was being used to wire huge amount of money to Quiboloy.

The Senate’s last regular session before it goes on break is on Wednesday, but it can continue holding committee hearings while on recess.

Human trafficking case

Aside from the Senate, the House of Representatives has already issued an arrest order against Quiboloy after he snubbed the lower chamber’s inquiries into the franchise of his media network Sonshine Media Network International.

While Quiboloy can evade the summons of the Senate, citing his constitutional right, he cannot evade a court-issued warrant that requires strict compliance. If he does, he would be declared a fugitive.

The embattled doomsday preacher has been charged with a non-bailable case of human trafficking at a Pasig City court, the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday. The next step is for the Pasig court to determine if there is basis to issue a warrant of arrest against Quiboloy for qualified human trafficking under Section 4(a) of Republic Act No. 9208. –

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  1. ET

    The thrilling question is, “What happens next?” Rappler readers will always monitor the development of Quiboloy’s case.

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.