News

Quiboloy arrest ordered, faces non-bailable raps

By Beting Dolor and Jeanne Michael Penaranda

MANILA – Law enforcement agencies are poised to serve warrants of arrest for controversial Pastor Apollo Quiboloy signed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and also by the House of Representatives even as both houses of Congress separately readied his possible detention room once he is collared.

This as the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced indictments before the Davao and Pasig courts against the embattled pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ arising from allegations of sexual, child abuse and others.

Lawyers of Quiboloy, meanwhile, said they may question the arrest warrants before the Supreme Court, saying the judiciary could “interpret the constitutional limitations on the power of Congress to conduct investigations.” 

Elvis Balayan, lawyer for the pastor, said that while they respect the decision of the Senate to issue an arrest order, Quiboloy would “exert all available legal remedies to protect his constitutional rights.”

Quiboloy and his key leaders are also facing various charges, including rape, child abuse, human trafficking, and dollar smuggling, in the California court and has been placed in the Most Wanted List of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

This as more multi-million properties of Quiboloy reportedly worth about P300 million were unearth in Hawaii and Las Vegas. His alleged  luxurious mansion in Las Vegas was estimated to be worth P165 million, according to a Rappler report.

Zubiri said in a statement  that signing the arrest warrant was “ministerial” after Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate committee on women and gender equality, found “no merit” in Quiboloy’s reasons for refusing to attend hearings about his alleged sex crimes, among other allegations.

Quiboloy, through his lawyer Melanio Balayan, had argued a number of legal justifications for why he should not be arrested, saying that the committee’s investigation is “incriminatory” and already assumes guilt on the part of the embattled preacher.

In a statement, DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Mico Clavano said the charges filed before the Pasig regional trial court are non-bailable.

The legal proceedings against Quiboloy and several associates began from the resolution issued by DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on March 5.

Quiboloy faces charges under Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 7610 (Other Sexual Abuse), focusing on the protection of children against abuse, exploitation, and discrimination.

Additional charges under Section 10(a) of the same act (Other Acts of Child Abuse) were filed against Quiboloy, along with Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, Ingrid Canada, and Sylvia Cemanes, aimed at safeguarding children’s psychological and emotional health.

The Davao City Prosecutor’s Office also endorsed a complaint for qualified trafficking in persons to the DOJ main office.

Meanwhile, in the information filed before the Pasig City court, Quiboloy and his fellow respondents were charged for qualified human trafficking under Section 4 (a) of Republic Act No. 9208, as amended, pursuant to the Resolution promulgated on March 5, 2024 by the Secretary of Justice.

“The Department of Justice is dedicated to the enforcement of our laws and the protection of our children from exploitation and abuse. This case underscores our commitment to hold accountable those who would harm our society’s most vulnerable. Let this serve as a reminder that no individual, regardless of their position, is above the law,” Remulla said in the statement.   

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MANILA  —  As the good book says, as you sow, so shall you reap.

This may be what his reported victims are thinking after Pastor Apollo Quiboloy faced a fourth warrant for his arrest this week, the most recent of which is for a non-bailable offense of human trafficking.

His latest cases are alleged human trafficking filed before a Pasig City court; sexual abuse and child abuse cases in Davao City; the Senate authorizing his arrest for constant failure to show up at hearings regarding similar crimes; and the House also ordering his arrest for failing to attend hearings regarding the operations of his Sonshine Media Network International.

Quiboloy has been in hiding since last month even before facing non-bailable offenses.

On Tuesday, March 19 (Manila time), Senate President Miguel Zubiri ordered the Senate Sgt-at-Arms to apprehend Quibiloy within 24 hours.

This, as the House of Representatives legislative franchises committee also ordered the Davao-based church leader’s arrest for ignoring its hearings on SMNI’s alleged franchise violations.

The House went so far as to say that it was willing to have Quiboloy detained at the Senate as a matter of parliamentary courtesy if the upper chamber so desired.

Otherwise, the pastor will be detained at the House’s own detention facility.

Of the two other criminal cases he faces, the one in Davao allows Quiboloy to post bail of P260,000 for all charges.  The Pasig case, on the other hand, should see him initially placed in a city jail. If found guilty, he will eventually land at the national penitentiary.

The detention waiting for him in the Senate and the House can last for as long as the lawmakers want.

An example, executives of the Pharmally corporation were detained in the Senate for several months, before they were released on humanitarian grounds.

Quiboloy’s lawyers can cite his advanced age  — he’s 73 – as a possible reason to place him under house arrest, but his non-bailable case is another matter.

The Justice department did not release details of the cases the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church faces in Pasig and Davao City, only saying that the pastor was being charged along with five of his associates identified as Sylvia Cemanes; Jackielyn Roy; and Crescente, Pauline, and Ingrid all surnamed Canada.

In a statement to media, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the cases underscored “our commitment to hold accountable those who would harm our society’s most vulnerable.”

For his part, Zubiri signed the warrant of arrest against the pastor after his explanations for being absent at the Senate hearings were considered “nowhere near satisfactory.”

It was Senator Risa Hontiveros who said Quiboloy’s reasons for refusing to attend hearings on his alleged sex crimes had “no merit.”

One of Quiboloy’s lawyers, Melanio Balayan, had said that the Senate had already prejudged his client.

But Quiboloy himself had also previously stated that he was facing not just arrest, but was a target for assassination by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation with the approval of the Marcos administration.

The administration laughed off the allegation.

Hontiveros also said that the order for the preacher’s arrest was not because of his alleged crimes, but because of his refusal to attend the hearings of her committee on women and children.

The Senate, she added, is not a court of law and is in no position to determine a person’s guilt or innocence.

Zubiri added that the arrest order was not intended to punish Quiboloy, but only to guarantee that the inquiry is “potent and compelling.”

As of press time, the Senate sgt-at-arms had yet to apprehend Quiboloy. The body is expected to seek the assistance of the Philippine National Police following reports that Quiboloy’s followers had formed a well-armed private army that would block all attempts to have their leader incarcerated like a common criminal.