Quiboloy still obliged to attend Senate probe — Carpio

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Quiboloy still obliged to attend Senate probe � Carpio
Preacher Apollo Quiboloy
Facebook / Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy

MANILA, Philippines — Former Supreme Court (SC) senior associate ustice Antonio Carpio said that doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy is required to attend the investigations in both houses of Congress against him.

Citing a ruling of the SC, the former magistrate said that every citizen of the Philippines must respond and testify to the subpoena issued by Congress and its committees.

“Kapag sinubpoena ka ng Senado o Congress (House of Representatives), o committee na nila. You have to appear, hindi pwedeng sabihin mo na ‘that will violate my constitutional rights.’ That’s premature,” Carpio said in an interview with Teleradyo on Monday morning. 

(When you are subpoenaed by the Senate or Congress, or their committees, you have to appear. You cannot say, ‘that will violate my constitutional rights.’ That's premature.)

On March 15, Quiboloy's camp sent a letter to Senator Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, in response to the show-cause order issued on March 12 regarding the probe into the alleged abuses involving him and his organization, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

In the letter, the preacher’s camp argued that appearing in a Senate probe would violate Quiboloy’s constitutional rights, one of which is the preacher’s right against self-incrimination. 

This prompted Hontiveros to ask the Senate to issue an arrest warrant against the preacher, which was signed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on March 19.

Meanwhile, Carpio also explained that Quiboloy can only invoke his right against self-incrimination if an incriminating question has been asked during the investigation.

“Kasi ang right against self-incrimination, you’ll be asked a question (where) the answer will incriminate you,” the magistrate said.

(Because the right against self-incrimination means you'll be asked a question where the answer could incriminate you.)

“Hindi pwedeng before you appear, sasabihin mo na there’s a question calling for a self-incriminating answer,” he added.

(You cannot say that before you appear, there's a question calling for a self-incriminating answer.)

The right against self-incrimination is recognized and protected under Article III, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that "no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."

This means that individuals cannot be forced to testify or provide evidence that could incriminate them in a criminal case.

Quiboloy’s camp has also asked the SC on March 25 to stop the Senate from enforcing the arrest warrant against the preacher calling it “unjust and unconstitutional.”

RELATED: Quiboloy camp asks SC to stop Senate arrest

The preacher is currently facing criminal charges in Davao City and Pasig City trial courts for allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in 2011, with charges including human trafficking. 

The Davao City case pertains to violations of the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act, while the Pasig City case relates to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. 

Recently, a California judge ordered the unsealing of arrest warrants for Quiboloy and his co-accused, involving charges such as conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, sex trafficking of children and cash smuggling.

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