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Duterte on serving of Quiboloy arrest warrant: Overkill

Edith Regalado, Diana Lhyd Suelto - The Philippine Star
Duterte on serving of Quiboloy arrest warrant: Overkill
Former president Rodrigo Duterte
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) condemned what they described as “overkill” in police operations to serve arrest warrants for accused sex offender and human trafficker Apollo Quiboloy and his accomplices.

“I strongly condemn the use of excessive and unnecessary force in serving the warrant of arrest for Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ by police officers who are not even from Davao City,” Duterte, who is also KOJC property administrator, said yesterday.

He added that the operation “is absolutely unacceptable,” having occurred in a place of worship and on school premises.

The heavily armed raiding teams of the Special Action Force (SAF) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) from Region 10 raided several properties owned by Quiboloy, including their main compound beside the Davao City International Airport that houses KOJC’s Jose Maria College and worship building.

They also stormed through the sect’s Prayer Mountain and Glory Mountain in Barangay Tamayong, QSands Baptismal Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal and the Kitbog Compound in Malungon, Sarangani, but was not able to find Quiboloy.

The raiding teams, who were in full battle gear, scaled the high fence and gates of the KOJC main compound on Diversion Road and destroyed the gates at the Glory Mountain to gain access to the properties.

“Will this overkill be the trademark of this administration when dealing with individuals who are merely accused of committing a crime and have not been proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt?” Duterte asked.

“Will they exhibit the same lack of self-restraint they have shown towards critics of this administration when dealing with their supporters?” he added.

In the KOJC main compound, at least three members were injured in the short melee that transpired when the police tried to scale the gate of the compound.

Nine members of the group were handcuffed by the police at the Glory Mountain on allegations that they were carrying bolos during the raid.

“How can this administration guarantee the preservation of the constitutional rights of our fellow Filipinos when even the most fundamental of these rights are being trampled upon and blatantly violated?” Duterte said.

KOJC also issued a statement condemning the manner in which the warrant of arrest was served.

“We strongly condemn the manner of implementing the arrest warrants insofar as they were not only laden with irregularities, but they were excessive and overkill. The PNP deployed special battalions who were in full battle gear, some CIDG officials were even seen wearing bulletproof vests and hundreds of police personnel in anti-riot gear and shields strategically positioned themselves at the KOJC Compound,” it said.

KOJC also questioned the implementation of the warrants of arrest, which they claim to be “unjust and excessive.”

“The implementation of the warrants of arrest is also questionable in as much as the CIDG has already filed their Returns of Warrant of Arrest as early as May 14, 2024 before the RTC Branch 159 of Pasig City. Thus, insofar as the KOJC leaders are concerned, the warrants have already been implemented,” the group said.

It also maintained that the arrest warrant is not a search warrant.

“Even searches incident to a lawful arrest, the arrest must precede the search; generally, the process cannot be reversed,” KOJC said.

“Thus, we strongly condemn the highly irregular implementation of the warrants of arrest and the arbitrary and oppressive use of force and violence in enforcing the same,” it added.

Raps eyed vs cops

Quiboloy’s camp said there is a “great probability” that it would pursue charges over the search of his properties last Monday.

“It was not only an overkill. I have reasonable grounds to believe that it was even illegal,” Quiboloy’s lawyer Israelito Torreon told “Storycon” on One News yesterday.

Torreon noted that operatives of the SAF and CIDG in Region 10 that conducted the simultaneous raids did not have a search warrant to enter the properties.

He pointed out that what happened was a violation of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, which states that “an officer, in order to make an arrest either by virtue of a warrant … may break into any building or enclosure where the person to be arrested is or is reasonably believed to be, if he is refused admittance thereto, after announcing his authority and purpose.”

“At least two or even all three (of the requisites) are not present in this case,” the lawyer said, noting that the raids on multiple properties indicated that the police were not aware of Quiboloy’s whereabouts.

Torreon added that they are looking at filing charges for unlawful arrest as some church members were arrested during the raid, as well as interruption of religious worship as it happened during the church’s supposed time for devotional prayers.

The destruction of a property fence may also constitute malicious mischief, according to Quiboloy’s lawyer.

Torreon said he is not aware of the current location of the pastor, saying that the last time they talked was before the Senate issued an arrest warrant in March.

“It was a long discussion… We already talked about certain scenarios as to what would happen. Somehow, he was able to foresee that these things may happen,” Torreon added.

‘Orderly, acceptable’

Amid these developments, Vice President Sara Duterte yesterday called on authorities for an “orderly and acceptable” enforcement of the law against Quiboloy, following the raids conducted on the controversial preacher’s properties.

In a statement in Filipino coming to Quiboloy’s defense, Duterte called the operations on Monday as a “disorderly” implementation of an arrest warrant.

Duterte called for acceptable and humane law enforcement and serving of justice for Quiboloy.

She called on authorities to always consider the safety of civilians and ensure that the youth are safe in the discharge of their duties.

She said violence against the people is disrespectful of democracy.

Help authorities, Duterte told

Instead of covering up for his friend, the former president should help government authorities track down Quiboloy, who is the subject of warrants of arrest from the court and the Senate, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said yesterday.

Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate committee on women and children investigating allegations against Quiboloy, urged Duterte not to cover up for the KOJC founder.

“Duterte should stop covering up for Quiboloy. He should just help track down where his friend is,” Hontiveros said.

Authorities reported that Quiboloy evaded arrest last Monday after armed police personnel stormed the KOJC compound in Barangay Buhangin, Davao City and did not find him there.

Throngs of Quiboloy’s supporters formed a barricade outside the compound and reportedly made it difficult for law enforcement authorities to enter and search the grounds.

“There may have been a breakdown in PNP (Philippine National Police) intelligence gathering. I said so the moment the PNP failed to locate Quiboloy’s whereabouts after the issuance of several warrants of arrest several months ago,” the senator said.

“I am again calling on the PNP leadership to ensure that none of our officers are being influenced by Quiboloy or any of his allies, particularly former president Duterte. I trust that more of our men and women in uniform are also doing all they can to bring Quiboloy to justice,” she added.

Hontiveros called on Quiboloy to surrender and face his church’s former members who are accusing him of abuses.

“And for Quiboloy, give up. Cooperate with our law enforcers for once. Deal with the charges and accusations. You have nowhere to hide,” Hontiveros said.

Sen. Robinhood Padilla described as an eyesore the recent raid of Quiboloy’s place.

“I hope there will be a better treatment on this case because it will really come down to this. That’s what’s sad because it’s not good to see that it’s happening in a place that we know people worship, people in uniform enter, it’s a bit painful to see,” Padilla said.

He suggested that Quiboloy’s case be diplomatically resolved.

“Maybe it can be done through diplomacy. I don’t know why Filipinos are so hot now. Let’s just relax. Because you know that there are things that can be gained in the conversation, we have to go through the conversation. Let’s not be too violent, Let’s not be too hot-headed. Let’s just relax, especially nowadays when the whole world is hot-headed. Let’s not go with the flow,” he said.

‘Desperate, foolish’

Ecumenical youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) scoffed at Duterte’s condemnation of the PNP’s serving of arrest warrant against Quiboloy.

“It is both desperate and foolish that outrage against human rights violations came from Rodrigo Duterte, when he himself became the biggest human rights violator during his administration!” SCMP national chairman Kej Andres said.

“This only shows how it is convenient for the likes of former president Duterte to invoke human rights when his benefactor is being put into justice, as he himself made pronouncements against human rights and enacted a ‘kill-kill-kill’ policy against thousands of innocents,” he added.

Duterte has been infamous for “implementing and instigating heinous policies which resulted in human rights violations, including the tokhang drug war, which killed more than 30,000, as well as policies on red-tagging and counter-insurgency which resulted in extrajudicial killings, warrantless arrests and vilification of activists and other innocent individuals,” according to Andres.

“While it is true that this Marcos Jr. administration has its foul share of human rights violations, we will never forget how a highlight of the Duterte administration is also blatant human rights violations, especially against the religious,” he said.

The SCMP leader gave a long list of alleged attacks against church people under Duterte, including the killings of Fr. Mark Ventura, Fr. Marcelito Paez, Pastor Lovelito Quiñones, Fr. Richmond Nilo, Neptali Morada, Putoy dela Cruz and Domingo Edo.

Those arrested included Pastor Dan San Andres, Mariel Domequil and Aldeem Yañez.

Andres also reminded that organizations such as the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, SCMP and other church leaders “have been red-tagged by both Quiboloy and state agents.”

In fact, “RMP and its key people were charged with terrorist-financing and have bank accounts frozen,” Andres said.

Former RMP head Sr. Patricia Fox was deported for being active on social causes in the Philippines.

Andres called on Quiboloy and Duterte to “surrender to the authorities for the crimes they have committed.”

“They have been weighed, and they have been found very much sinful against the Filipino people,” Andres reiterated. — Janvic Mateo, Jose Rodel Clapano, Neil Jayson Servallos, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Artmeio Dumlao

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