Politics, ethics, and Quiboloy

FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras - The Freeman

The ongoing and continuing issues of Quiboloy’s sexual and other abuses of his followers, money laundering, illegal possession of firearms, contempt for refusal to heed a Senate investigation, and other alleged crimes are not going to disappear soon. All these involve morality/ethics, politics and have implications on Filipino politicians/government officials. The perceptions/positions of the government, the politicians, and majority of the Filipinos on these issues, will determine the future of our politics, our government, and what kind of people the Filipinos are in the most Catholic country in the world.

After the issuance of a Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest warrant in the US, the Senate investigation, and the Department of Justice recommendation of filing a criminal case, the Senate contempt citation made the headlines because there are four senators who are opposing the contempt order in defense of Quiboloy. Technically, this objection is out of order, since Quiboloy has not been officially charged, and the order is due to his refusal to appear in the Senate investigation.

If the Senate had perfunctorily issued this contempt order on other witnesses, then they should proceed to do so in the case of Quiboloy. The reasons put up by Senators Robin Padilla, Imee Marcos, Cynthia Villar, and Bong Go are not yet at issue on the contempt order. It just shows their unethical bias due to personal and political reasons. Given the serious accusations during the Senate hearing, the FBI warrant of arrest and the DOJ finding probable cause for indictment, the four senators’ fears for their ally are understandable, but it also shows their lack of appreciation of the moral/ethical dimension of this issue, their disregard of the socio-political implications, and underestimation of people’s reactions.

Quiboloy has been building up a religious cult over the years based in Davao and had amassed sizable followers. He has missionaries in other parts of the Philippines and in the US to raise funds and gain adherents. Like other foreign religions, he took advantage of a loophole in US immigration law that allows missionaries. His FBI arrest warrant is due to his violations of this immigration law and other illegal activities.

Like any other underdeveloped/developing country, the Philippines has its share of economically-deprived and undereducated citizens who are susceptible to oratorically-gifted speakers who use religion to recruit members. Coupled with the organizational skills of the leaders and targeted financial intervention of some followers, they create a dependency on their members. There are other similar like organizations in the Philippines, but Quiboloy’s over-confidence and overreach into criminal activities put him over the edge.

Religious organizations are always a political power group any ruler or government has to reckon with. In authoritarian/despotic regimes, they are militarily and financially controlled and restricted like in China, Russia, and in the Middle Eastern countries. In democratic and semi-democratic countries, they are manipulated and courted for the votes of their followers. As they are freer in democratic countries, they also tend to accumulate more wealth and influence over their followers.

In autocratic governments, the restrictive line/border which religious groups cannot cross are strictly defined and enforced, so their political power is always under control. In the Philippines and some countries, they are less controlled, so Quiboloy is very rich, and so are some other Philippine religious and semi-religious organizations. However, these other religious organizations have defined a self-imposed line/border to stay within the legal limits of a democratic society.

It is difficult to discern how our political leaders and the Filipino people view the future of Philippine democracy and their willingness to fight for it. History, the armed and peaceful revolutions that happened, show their willingness to fight for truth, justice and morality. We, therefore, need religious organizations that believe in these values, fight for them, and make our politicians accountable for them.

Quiboloy is facing a possible arrest, diminishing followers, limited financial resources, and lesser political/social influence. His media and physical space are also shrinking. There is a God and Quiboloy is not his son.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with