Pasig court issues arrest warrants vs Quiboloy, others

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Pasig court issues arrest warrants vs Quiboloy, others
Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
Sunshine Media

MANILA, Philippines — A regional trial court in Pasig City yesterday ordered the arrest of fugitive Apollo Quiboloy for the non-bailable offense of qualified human trafficking.

It is the second warrant issued against the Kingdom of Jesus Christ leader, who remains in hiding after a Davao City family court earlier issued an arrest warrant for child and sexual abuse charges.

Also ordered arrested were co-accused Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, Ingrid Canada and Sylvia Cemanes.

In issuing the order, Pasig RTC Branch 159 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa ruled to deny the motion of Quiboloy’s lawyers to defer or suspend the proceedings and to hold in abeyance the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

“This court, after personally examining the information and its supporting documents, finds probable cause for the arrest of all the accused. Let warrants of arrest be issued against them,” Montesa said in a three-page order.

Quiboloy’s camp sought the suspension of the criminal proceedings, citing a pending motion for reconsideration before the Office of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.

But the prosecution opposed the motion, arguing that Rule 116 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure only allows the suspension of arraignment based on the filing of a petition for review before the Department of Justice, and not a motion to reconsider a resolution for a petition for review.

“The court finds the Motion to Defer/Suspend Proceedings and Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrant of Arrest to be a prohibited motion and should therefore be denied,” Montesa said in the order.

Under the rules, the suspension of arraignment is only allowed on three grounds: the accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition, there is a prejudicial question, and a petition for review of the resolution of the prosecutor is pending either at the justice department or at the Office of the President.

The Pasig court said “there is no basis” to suspend the criminal proceedings against Quiboloy as the filing of a motion for reconsideration on the resolution of petition for review is not among the grounds stated under the rules.

On the child abuse and sexual abuse in Davao City, defense lawyer Israelito Torreon said they would file a motion to quash the arrest warrant, arguing that this violated Quiboloy’s right to speedy resolution after the justice department sat on the cases for “more than four years.”

The filing of the cases came after Secretary Remulla granted the petition for review filed by the female victim who sought the reversal of the 2020 decision of the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office that dismissed her complaint.

The victim, then 17 years old, alleged a series of abuses that started in 2011 and included a rape in September 2014. The minor also alleged emotional and physical mistreatment and forced labor without compensation – all under the guise of religious service to the church Quiboloy founded.

Quiboloy is also facing an arrest order from the Senate over his continued refusal to attend hearings on allegations of human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse and violence filed against him by former sect members.

He is also included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s wanted list for his alleged participation in a “labor trafficking scheme that brought church members to the US, via fraudulently obtained visas, and forced the members to solicit donations for a bogus charity, donations that actually were used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyles of its leaders.”

In early March, a California judge ordered the unsealing of the arrest warrants against Quiboloy and his co-accused. The cases involve conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, coercion; sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and cash smuggling.

Meanwhile, Col. Jean Fajardo, chief information officer of the Philippine National Police, said the police could not immediately revoke Quiboloy’s gun permits and licenses as he has to be first convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

She added that the cases against Quiboloy do not involve the use of firearms.

Quiboloy has 19 firearms under his name. The license of one of the guns expired last March.

Fajardo said the Firearms and Explosives Office of the police is studying the possibility of canceling the registration for Quiboloy’s other firearms based on his failure to renew the license for one of his guns. –  Daphne Galvez

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