Senate, House issue subpoenas vs Quiboloy

The Philippine Star
Senate, House issue subpoenas vs Quiboloy
Facebook photo shows evangelist Apollo Quiboloy waving from his Cessna Citation Sovereign jet, which landed at his compound in Davao City on March 19, 2018.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has issued a subpoena against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) head Apollo Quiboloy to compel him to attend an investigation into allegations of rape and forcing church members to beg or sell goods on the streets to fund his lifestyle.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri signed the subpoena at the request of Sen. Risa Hontiveros – chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, which is leading the probe.

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Martin Romualdez and Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting also issued a subpoena ordering Quiboloy to personally appear before an inquiry on alleged violations of Sonshine Media Network International, a medium used by KOJC.

“Please be advised that failure to comply with this order will constrain the committee to resort to Section 11 of the Rules of Procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation of the House on the power of contempt,” they warned Quiboloy, noting that an order for immediate arrest might be issued against one who is cited in contempt.

Hontiveros issued a similar warning, urging Quiboloy to heed the subpoena and not underestimate the Senate, which “will not stop until the victims get justice and peace.”

During the Senate hearing yesterday, Bureau of Immigration legal division chief Arvin Cesar Santos gave assurance that Quiboloy is still in the country, despite reports that he has already left. He cited records that showed Quiboloy arriving in the country on July 22 last year. Santos added there is no record of him leaving the Philippines.

Senior State Counsel Mary Grace Quintana said the Department of Justice might issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO), especially since the Senate has an ongoing investigation.

But she clarified that the immigration bureau could only monitor Quiboloy’s movement and could not prevent him from leaving the country, even if an ILBO is issued.

In requesting for a subpoena, Hontiveros said, “We are asking to hold Quiboloy accountable so we may be able to save the other victims who are still under his power – victims who are still begging in malls, terminals, buses and streets to support the private jet, foreign trips and mansion of their respected leader. Women and minors who were raped because that was allegedly their sacrifice for God the Father.”

Hontiveros also expressed worry over the safety of their previous witnesses who allegedly continue to receive threats and intimidation from Quiboloy’s henchmen.

During the continuation of the Senate hearing, the senator presented “Iona,” who like Sofia and Nina in the previous hearing, was also allegedly abused by the KOJC leader.

In a recorded video, Iona told the Senate that she was instructed by a staff of Quiboloy to go to his room to have sex, an incident that reportedly happened many times.

“One day we were in Singapore at that time and Ate Jack called me that it would be my schedule, I had to go; when I came, the pastor told me ‘Oh I didn’t call you, I called another one.’ So I knew I was not the special one, not the chosen one. He sleeps with everyone… At one night he can have not only one girl, he will call one, and then after that, another one,” Iona claimed.

Another witness, a certain Rene, said he joined KOJC in 2015 as an officer on scholarship. But he was reportedly told to play mute and deaf instead, to beg on the streets from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and raise a P3,000 daily quota.

“When I failed to raise the quota, I was beaten and was not allowed to eat,” Rene claimed.

He also alleged that he was later taken to Glory Mountain to do some landscaping. It was allegedly there that Quiboloy beat him.

“At Glory Mountain, when Quiboloy arrives in a (helicopter), he has big bags full of different types of guns he laid out in the tent next to his mansion. Sometimes former president (Rodrigo) Duterte and former Davao mayor Sara Duterte also go there. When they were leaving Glory Mountain, they were carrying the same bags that were used to store guns,” he said.

Rene added that he suffered sexual abuse by another KOJC official and that he was assigned as researcher at SMNI News in Makati in 2020.

Another witness, David, claimed he was also sent to the streets to beg even if he was a grandson of Quiboloy. He noted that there was an instance when other KOJC officials put chili in his eyes and privates on instructions of Quiboloy.

“Of all those who testified (in the hearing) today, alias Rene, alias David and alias Jackson, thank you very, very much for your courage. We know that what you have gone through is not easy and it is even more difficult to stand up against a powerful person. I know your courage will inspire even more to do the same. I am with you – the committee and the entire Senate for your fight for justice. And if someone hurts you, they will be answerable to me and this Senate,” Hontiveros said.

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