Quiboloy lawyers smell politics in Pacquiao cyber libel suit
ILIGAN CITY—A lawyer for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy has said that the cyber libel case filed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao against the self-proclaimed “Appointed Son of God” could be part of the legislator’s propaganda in relation to his possible presidential bid.
Lawyer Dinah Marie Tolentino read an official statement from Quiboloy’s legal team in response to Pacquiao’s filing of a cyber libel complaint at the Makati City prosecutor’s office.
“We can only surmise. That is our supposition, considering that this is already September and the elections are next year,” Tolentino told reporters in a press conference in Davao City on Tuesday, which was carried on social media when asked if the legal action has something to do with the 2022 election.
Quiboloy is a close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Pacquiao has said that he is considering a run for president in 2022.
Pacquiao has said that the complaint stemmed from a television appearance and social media post made by Quiboloy where he claimed that the senator had misused funds for the unfinished Sarangani Sports Training Center.
Pacquiao demanded Quiboloy to pay him P100 million in damages for spreading the “fabricated” claims.
Quiboloy’s lawyers said the pastor “is ready to respond to the accusations against him,” only that they have yet to receive a copy of Pacquiao’s cyber libel complaint.
“We maintain that every citizen has the right to inquire, to hear, to speak, and make commentaries about the actions of public officials. The interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs,” the statement from Quiboloy’s camp said.
“In a democratic society, public officials like Senator Manny Pacquiao should expect criticisms and critical evaluation of their performances from the citizens whom they are expected to serve,” the statement added.
His lawyers maintained that Quiboloy “never made any accusation against the good Senator, but only floated a question regarding that matter on behalf of the people who wanted answers.”
“The complaint of Senator Manny Pacquiao may be considered as retaliatory and a political move on his part considering that the election is coming,” they added.
Lawyer Israelito Torreon, Quiboloy’s spokesperson, said the pastor would be represented in the case by Tolentino and another lawyer, Raul Tolentino. Ryan D. Rosauro
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