Transfer Quiboloy’s case to Metro Manila – lawmakers

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Transfer Quiboloy�s case to Metro Manila � lawmakers
Apollo Quiboloy
AFP / Manman Dejeto

MANILA, Philippines — Fugitive Apollo Quiboloy’s criminal cases in Davao City should be transferred to a court in Metro Manila, administration lawmakers said yesterday.

“For us to expect impartiality during the course of the legal proceedings, we must change the venue. Can you imagine the victims of sexual harassment and human trafficking will be going to Davao?” Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Raul Angelo Bongalon pointed out.

Quiboloy, leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ ministry, is facing complaints for child molestation and sexual abuse before a Davao City court as well as the non-bailable offense of qualified human trafficking before a Pasig City court.

Quiboloy wields an “enormous amount of influence in Davao,” which could result in the dismissal of the cases regardless if these are meritorious or not, according to Bongalon.

“Out of fear, the victims and witnesses may not be able to testify. How can we expect justice? It is but proper to have a change of venue in the legal proceedings so that we can expect neutrality,” Bongalon said.

Manila 3rd District Rep. Joel Chua agreed with Bongalon.

“This is a court process and if the court sees a possible whitewash or the defendant is influential, a change of venue is allowed,” Chua noted.

Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong likened changing the venue to a “homecourt advantage” in basketball.

“We know how popular, how influential pastor Quiboloy is in Davao. You also have to consider the environment. That is actually his bailiwick,” Adiong said.

“I think it’s better for the case to be expeditiously decided free from interference and to insulate the case from further creating an atmosphere of uncertainty within Davao City,” he added.

House Deputy Speaker David Suarez said he respects the Department of Justice’s decision to have Quiboloy’s case transferred.

“But my bigger concern is, why can’t the police find Quiboloy until now?” Suarez said.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police public information office chief Col. Jean Fajardo said the PNP is not singling out Quiboloy when it revoked the pastor’s gun permit.

“The revocation of Quiboloy’s license to own and possess firearms was based on Republic Act 10591, which stipulates legal disabilities that disqualify a person from owning guns,” Fajardo said. — Mark Ernest Villeza

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