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Senate officially issues subpoena vs. Quiboloy

A subpoena has been officially issued against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy.

Senator Risa Hontiveros announced this Monday at the continuation of the Senate investigation into the alleged cases of large-scale human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse and violence, and child abuse within his religious group.

The subpoena ad testificandum was prepared last February 14 and was signed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri early Monday morning, according to Hontiveros' office.

"By Authority of Section 17 of the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation of the Senate, Republic of the Philippines, you are hereby commanded and required to appear before the Senate, then and there to testify under oath on what you know relative to the subject matter...," the subpoena addressed to Quiboloy read.

GMA News Online sought comment from Quiboloy's camp and his legal counsel on the matter, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.

In her opening statement, Hontiveros thanked Zubiri for signing the subpoena against Quiboloy.

Last week, Hontiveros, who leads the Senate probe, bared that she had pressed Zubiri to issue the subpoena against Quiboloy through a letter last February 6.

"My office has made it our policy to put the voices of women and children first, to put the voices of the victim-survivors at the center. And I am glad that our institution under the current Senate leadership has made it its policy, too," Hontiveros said.

"Yes, the subpoena against Apollo Quiboloy is out. Gaano man kalakas ang ingay ng politika, mas malakas dapat ang panawagan para sa katarungan," she added.

Quiboloy has skipped the first hearing of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality into the alleged harassment within KOJC.

Quiboloy's lawyer, Melanio Balayan, represented him during the investigation.

This prompted Hontiveros to order the issuance of a subpoena against Quiboloy.

The KOJC leader earlier said he will not submit himself to the Senate inquiry into the allegations of sexual abuse made by former members of his religious organization against him.

Quiboloy said he would only face the allegations against him before the courts.

"I will not subject myself to injustices that are done in a cloak of a Senate hearing... I will not subject to any of that, but I will face any of you... I will face you anywhere, anytime in a court of law," he previously said.

"Just do it. If you cannot do that, you are all bogus, you are all false. You don't deserve my respect because you don't respect my personal rights. I will not also respect your office as a senator," he added.

At the latter part of the hearing, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said there are no records of Quiboloy leaving the Philippines.

BI Legal Division chief Arvin Cesar Santos made the remark when asked about a news report indicating that Quiboloy has already flown to China.

"Wala po sa records namin 'yon... Based on our records po, as of to date, ang last pa po na flight ni Apollo Quiboloy po ay dumating po siya noong July 22, 2023. So based on our records, nandito po siya," Santos told the Senate panel.  

(There is nothing on our records that he left. Based on our records, as of to date, Quiboloy's last flight was when he returned on July 22, 2023. So based on our records, he is in the country.)


Lookout bulletin

At the same hearing, Senior State Counsel Mary Grace Quintana said the Department of Justice may now issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) for Quiboloy because of the ongoing investigation in the Senate.

"Since it's now an ongoing investigation, the DOJ can now issue an immigration lookout bulletin order," Quintana said.

However, she explained that ILBO is "not meant to prevent the subject from leaving the country" and it is "just a way of monitoring the subject of the order."

In December last year, Hontiveros urged the DOJ to issue an ILBO for Quiboloy as she sought an investigation into the exploitation and sexual abuse allegations against the preacher.

But DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano earlier said they will “err on the side of caution” before issuing such an order.

Clavano explained that a preliminary investigation is one of the requirements in the filing of an ILBO.

“Otherwise, it might set a dangerous precedent na kung wala pang investigation, wala pang kaso sa korte, maglalabas na po tayo ng ILBO,” he said.—AOL, GMA Integrated News