Apollo Quiboloy

4 senators oppose contempt order vs Quiboloy

Herbie Gomez

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4 senators oppose contempt order vs Quiboloy

OBJECT. Senator Robinhoods Padilla looks as Senator Risa Hontiveros makes a point after citing Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo Quiboloy in contempt during the hearing of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality on March 5, 2024.

Senate PRIB

(1st UPDATE) Senator Robinhood Padilla has five more days, starting from March 7, to convince at least four more senators to sign an objection letter aimed at preventing the Senate from ordering the arrest of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – At least four senators have signed an objection letter that seeks to reverse a Senate panel’s decision to hold embattled doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy in contempt for not showing up during its continuing investigation into the alleged abuses committed against former workers of the Davao-based religious group Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Senator Robinhood Padilla, the first to object to the ruling, identified the others with him as senators Christopher Lawrence Go, Cynthia Villar, and Imee Marcos. He identified Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito to be with them, but the latter withdrew his signature later in the day.

Padilla’s group has five more days from Thursday, March 7, to convince at least four more senators to sign an objection letter to stop Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri from ordering Quiboloy’s arrest so the preacher could be brought to testify before the committee chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Eight constitutes the majority in the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality, required to overturn the March 5 ruling of Hontiveros to cite Quiboloy in contempt.

Based on the Senate rules on investigations in aid of legislation, a majority of committee members can reverse a contempt citation within seven days from the date of the ruling.

The Hontiveros-led committee is composed of senators Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Grace Poe, Raffy Tulfo, Go, Ejercito, Padilla, Villar, and her son Mark. Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, and Aquilino Pimentel III sit in the committee as ex officio members.

‘Leave it to the courts’

Earlier, Senator Marcos said she doubted that the Senate committee was conducting an investigation in aid of legislation.

“Kinakailangan muna na alamin natin muna ang dapat alamin kasi puros kwentuhan lang (First, we need to find out what needs to be known because it’s all just talk for now),” Marcos told reporters.

She said she would rather leave the Quiboloy case in the hands of the courts.

Marcos also confirmed that there has been a concerted effort by a group of senators to reverse the ruling.

Ejercito initially signed the objection letter but withdrew his signature hours later.

He said in a statement late Thursday afternoon that he initially signed the objection letter initiated by Padilla “in consideration of procedural practicality,” and this was “based on the fact the Department of Justice has already pursued charges of sexual abuse and qualified trafficking against Pastor Quiboloy.”

“But after careful review of the facts, witness testimonies, and additional information, such as the allegations of rape during the last committee hearing, I have decided to withdraw my signature today,” he said.

“Furthermore, my consultations have revealed strong precedents indicating that ongoing cases can still be heard and investigated in the Senate. This means Pastor Quiboloy will get an opportunity to present his side. Rest assured that the Senate will ensure fairness throughout the proceedings,” Ejercito added.

Numbers game

“Kailangan ko pa ng tatlo. May mga nakausap na ako na sa mga napakagandang paliwanag nila, tinatanggap ko na hindi sila pumirma. At ‘yan ang mga bagay na ikinatutuwa at ikinalulungkot. Siyempre ikinatuwa dahil buhay ang demokrasya sa Senado, nalulungkot dahil hindi ko pa nakukuha ang walong boto hanggang sa ngayon,” Padilla told reporters on Thursday, March 7.

(I still need three more. I’ve talked to some who did not sign and gave very good explanations, which I have accepted. And those are the things that make me happy and sad. Of course, I am happy democracy is alive in the Senate, but it brings sadness because I still haven’t secured the eight votes until now.)

Padilla added, “Personal akong tumatawag; personal akong humihingi kahit five minutes doon sa mga member. Meron pa akong bukas, Sabado, Linggo. Sana mapagbigyan tayo ng mga hindi pa nagsasabi ng hindi sila pipirma.”

(I personally make the calls; I personally ask for even just five minutes from the members. I still have tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday. I hope those who haven’t said they won’t sign will give us the chance.)

Encroachment on religion?

Padilla said his position has nothing to do with his friendship with Quiboloy, adding that he felt that senators should leave matters with the justice department.

He also cautioned against the Senate’s actions against a religious group, saying senators run the risk of going against the constitutional provision about the separation of Church and State.

Padilla said, “Dito sa nakikita ko, pagka nagpatuloy sa ganitong proseso parang sinasaklawan na natin, magkakaroon ba tayo ng panukala na sasagasaan natin ang religion? Papunta na ito. Wala na kay pastor, napupunta na doon sa buong organization. Sa buong religion nila.”

(From what I see here, if we continue with this process, it seems like we’re encroaching. Are we going to propose something that will encroach on religion? It’s heading that way. It’s no longer just about the pastor; it’s going to the whole organization. To their entire religion.)

Friend, ally, and helicopter

Padilla said he considers Quiboloy his friend and an ally in his advocacy against the communist rebellion since the Arroyo administration. 

“Hindi deserve para sa mga mata ko na ang isang taong tingin kong bayani sa pakikipaglaban niya sa komunista na naging kasama ko, e ganitong klase papayagan ko maiskandalo,” he said.

(In my view, it’s not fair that someone I regard as a hero for his fight against communists, and with whom I’ve collaborated, should suffer such a scandal with my consent.)

He also said Quiboloy provided him a platform for his advocacy through the preacher’s media arm, the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), and lent him a helicopter when he was running for a seat in the Senate.

“Ang helicopter pinahiram niya sa akin, ang mga ganoong klaseng pabor (He lent me a helicopter, that kind of favor,” Padilla said. – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    I appreciate Senator JV Ejercito’s decision. It is, indeed, the right thing to do. As for Senator Padilla and the rest of the pro-Quiboloy Senators, I believe it is a matter of “utang-na-loob.” I just hope that the victims of Pastor Quiboloy will remember them in the 2025 Midterm Election. The pro-Quiboloy senators can justify their actions for whatever reason they want to present to the Filipino people. But Filipinos with analytical and critical minds know which side of Social Justice they belong to.

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.