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House issues subpoena vs. Quiboloy to attend probe on SMNI


The House of Representatives on Monday issued a subpoena against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy, directing him to appear before the congressional inquiry into the call to revoke the franchise of Swara Sug Media Corporation, which runs and operates Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

In the letter signed by Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and House Committee on Legislative Franchises chairperson Gus Tambunting, Quiboloy was directed to attend the hearing on March 12, 2024.

''Please be advised that failure to comply with this Order will constrain the Committee to resort to Section 11 of the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation of the House of Representatives on the power of contempt,'' the letter stated.

Earlier, 1-Rider party-list lawmaker Rodge Gutierrez flagged franchise grantee Swara Sug for “failure to deliver truthful and balanced reporting to its audience” by citing the various complaints filed against SMNI before the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, National Telecommunications Commission, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, and the regional trial courts.

Section 4 of the Swara Sug's franchise provided under Republic Act 11422 provides that the franchise grantee has “the responsibility to the public not to use its station or facilities for the dissemination of deliberately false information or willful misrepresentation to the detriment of the public interest.”

Further, the lawmaker said SMNI admitted to transitioning from a non-stock, non-profit corporation to a corporation sole under Quiboloy in 2006 before transferring the said controlling stake to Bro. Marlon Acobo in 2023, with both actions taken without congressional approval.

Senate subpoena

Earlier in the day, Senator Risa Hontiveros during 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 that a subpoena had also been issued against Quiboloy.

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