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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality ordered controversial doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy to be subpoenaed after he failed to show up during its hearing on the alleged abuses committed by the Davao-based pastor and his church, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC).
“Kayo, pastor, ang dapat humarap sa susunod na pagdinig because you are being subpoenaed by this committee,” said the committee chair, Senator Risa Hontiveros, in her closing statement, which she addressed to Quiboloy on Tuesday, January 23.
(You, pastor, should appear at the next hearing because you are being subpoenaed by this committee.)
“Hindi po kayo anak ng Diyos na exempt sa otoridad ng estado,” she added. (You are not a son of God who is exempt from the authority of the state.)
The decision to subpoena Quiboloy, who styles himself as the “appointed son of God,” came after former workers of the KOJC and an American who helped some of his alleged victims testified against the preacher and his group during the hearing.
Two Ukrainians and a Filipino woman alleged Quiboloy subjected them to sexual abuses on separate occasions in the guise of a body sacrifice to God.
Two other former workers also accused Quiboloy of subjecting them to fraternity-like hazing and of squeezing them dry financially.
Hontiveros expressed disappointment in Quiboloy, stating that she sees his non-appearance as a disrespect to a government institution.
“Kawalan ng galang sa buong institusyon ng Senado ang inyong pagtangging humarap,” she said. (Your refusal to appear is a lack of respect for the entire Senate institution.)
Hontiveros said the subpoena will be the committee’s third attempt to ask Quiboloy to face the committee and answer the accusations leveled at him and the KOJC by his former followers.
The committee earlier sent two invitations to Quiboloy, one via registered mail and another through the private courier company LBC Express Incorporated.
Hontiveros said Quiboloy responded by sending a letter addressed to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. She did not disclose the contents of the letter.
Hontiveros pointed out that even the Supreme Court (SC) cannot stop Senate inquiries and the requirement for individuals to attend, emphasizing its constitutional authority in conducting such investigations.
She also addressed Quiboloy’s claim of having influential friends, asserting that regardless of any connections, he, like any ordinary witness, can only invoke the right against self-incrimination when faced with potentially incriminating questions.
Earlier during the hearing, the committee showed a video clip of Quiboloy threatening to go after his social media critics and former followers, boasting about his connections with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The Davao-based preacher is known for his close associations with former president Rodrigo Duterte, whom he served as “spiritual adviser.”
“Sinasabi niyo, pastor, mang marami kayong makapangyarihang kaibigan. But, ‘like any ordinary witness,’ you, of course, can invoke the right against self-incrimination only when and as the [possibly] incriminating question is propounded,” she said.
(You claim, pastor, that you have many influential friends. However, just like any ordinary witness, you can only use the right against self-incrimination when faced with a question that might incriminate you.)
Hontiveros said the Senate committee investigation is not into religious persecution, and stressed that senators were looking into the use of faith or religious conviction to commit heinous abuses and inflict harm on people whose beliefs have been distorted, whose strength has been taken away, and who have been exploited. – Rappler.com