June 17, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

House ready to arrest Quiboloy if he evades summons

THE House of Representatives stands ready to enforce potential contempt measures and issue an arrest order against televangelist Apollo Quiboloy, should he choose to ignore the  subpoena issued by the legislative chamber. 

This was emphasized by 1-Rider Party-list Rep. Rodge Gutierrez, who shed light on the preparedness of the House, particularly its Committee on Legislative Franchises, to take action if Quiboloy insists on evading summons.

“Kapag next hearing absent po ulit siya, I think ready po ‘yung committee to cite him in contempt and seek his subsequent arrest,” Gutierrez, a lawyer by profession and member of “Young Guns” or a group of young and progressive lawmakers, in response to a reporter’s question during a press conference Tuesday.

The committee, chaired by Parañaque City 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting, is currently taking up a bill aimed at revoking the legislative franchise of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), believed to be owned by Quiboloy.

A subpoena was recently issued against Quiboloy requiring him to attend the committee hearing scheduled on March 12 after he disregarded at least three invitations.

The subpoena was signed by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Tambunting and House Secretary General Reginald Velasco.

Gutierrez, the author of the SMNI franchise revocation bill, emphasized the importance of Quiboloy’s presence to shed light on the numerous violations committed by the broadcast network, known for regularly airing the preachings of the religious leader.

He said that there are questions that only Quiboloy himself can answer, not his lawyers.

“As a lawyer, naiintindihan din namin ‘yung mga abogado ng SMNI. Kahit through hook or by crook talagang paninindigan nila ang stand nila kahit na mukhang palusot minsan. But as lawmakers, we demand answers,” Gutierrez said.

PBA Party-list Rep. Margarita “Atty. Migs” Nograles echoed Gutierrez’s sentiments, underscoring the significance of due process and Quiboloy’s right to address the allegations.

“It’s only right na dumating po sana si Pastor para masagot po niya ‘yung mga katanungan that is in relation to him and his own personal knowledge. Sana po dumating siya para itong mga tinitingnan natin sa prangkisa ay makapagsalita po siya,” Nograles said.

She added: “And that’s only a matter of due process. And it’s his right na sana dumating siya para masagot niya ang mga katanungan instead of insinuating a lot of things.”

Adding to the discussion, Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong underscored the seriousness of issuing subpoenas, noting that they are reserved for uncooperative individuals who dismiss the authority of the House.

“Well, I’m not a lawyer but may kasabihan kasi ang mga abogado eh, ‘flight is an admission of guilt,’ ‘di ba? We only issue subpoenas if the respondent is uncooperative, if continuously dismissing the power of the House of Representatives as granted by the Constitution,” Adiong said.

He emphasized that the hearing provides the ideal opportunity for individuals or organizations to defend themselves against allegations of violations they may have committed.

“This is a perfect way for the Pastor to really share his piece to the public. Kasi ang idedepensa po dito I think is ‘yung franchise ng SMNI. So sabi ko nga I would like to reiterate, we don’t take issuance of subpoena lightly. We only issue subpoenas if there is a deliberate dismissal or rejection or ignoring of the invitation of the HOR,” Adiong said.

“That’s the last recourse and his presence is very, very vital in the ongoing committee hearings para mas makita ‘yung buong picture po ng pagdating dun po sa usapin ng violations ng SMNI,” he added.

Aside from its failure to adhere to the terms of its congressional franchise, SMNI faces allegations of spreading “fake news” and engaging in red-tagging.