Senate panel subpoenas Quiboloy for skipping probe

By HANA BORDEY,GMA Integrated News

The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality on Tuesday issued a subpoena against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy for skipping its investigation into various accusations against the religious group.

"Dahil nakapagpadala po ng dalawang imbitasyon, one by LBC and one by registered mail, pero walang sagot at attendance ni Pastor Quiboloy, the chair would move to subpoena Pastor Apollo Carreon Quiboloy for the next hearing of this committee," Senator Risa Hontiveros, who leads the Senate probe, said.

According to Hontiveros, Quiboloy has sent a letter to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. She did not provide the details but said the letter was "admitted" for the record of the Senate committee.

KOJC has been linked to cases of large-scale human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse and violence, and child abuse.

Although Quiboloy sent his lawyer to attend the hearing, Hontiveros said the pastor’s legal counsel would be “irrelevant” because the accusations of the victims should be directly addressed by the religious leader.

“Kayo Pastor ang dapat humarap sa susunod na pagdinig because you are being subpoenaed by this committee. Hindi po kayo anak ng diyos na exempt sa awtoridad ng estado,” Hontiveros said in her closing statement.

“Kahit ang Korte Suprema ay walang kapangyarihang pigilan ang ganitong inquiries ng Senado, at ang pag-require sa mga taong humarap dito… like any ordinary witness, you, of course, can invoke the right against self-incrimination only when and as the [possibly] incriminating question is propounded,” she added.

She went on and said, “Kawalan ng galang sa buong institusyon ng Senado ang inyong pagtangging humarap.”

Hontiveros likewise reiterated that the probe is not a religious persecution but an inquiry on the use of faith in abusing Filipinos.

More witnesses are expected to surface in the next Senate investigation on KOJC, she added.

Hontiveros, meanwhile, ordered the issuance of invitations to three more individuals who were mentioned in the victims' testimonies during the investigation.


In December, Hontiveros filed proposed Senate Resolution 884 that seeks to investigate the accusations against KOJC in aid of legislation to "allow us to determine whether our updated human trafficking laws are able to cover large-scale and systemic acts of trafficking done under the cover of a religious organization."

"Apollo Quiboloy, who styles himself as the 'Appointed Son of God and the leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ The Name Above Every Name (KOJC)', allegedly demands strict obedience from his full-time followers through brainwashing, psychological manipulation and constant threats of eternal damnation," Hontiveros said in her resolution.

"Considering that the crimes were committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and considering that crimes are taking place even at present as Quiboloy remains free to run operations of KOJC, it is imperative that an investigation be undertaken with dispatch," she said.

In a privilege speech last year, Hontiveros revealed accounts of victims who were allegedly exploited or sexually abused by Quiboloy.

Responding to the resolution, Quiboloy's legal counsel dared Hontiveros to bring the allegations to the proper courts and dismissed the Senate probe as a mere "deception."

This is not the first time that Quiboloy was faced with allegations of sexual abuse. In 2021, he was indicted in the United States for charges related to alleged sex-trafficking operation. —KBK/AOL, GMA Integrated News