House cites Quiboloy for contempt for snub of hearings | Inquirer News

House cites Quiboloy for contempt for snub of hearings

/ 02:19 PM March 12, 2024

Apollo Quiboloy | PHOTO: Official X account of Apollo Quiboloy / @PastorACQ

Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pasto Apollo Quiboloy (File photo from the Official X account of Apollo Quiboloy)

MANILA, Philippines — Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC) founder Apollo Quiboloy has been cited for contempt for still refusing to attend the House of Representatives committee on legislative franchises hearing on the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) issue.

Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representative Johnny Pimentel moved to hold Quiboloy in contempt after the latter still failed to attend the panel’s hearing on Tuesday.


However, Abang Lingkod party-list Representative Joseph Stephen Paduano asked that Quiboloy’s representative—lawyer Ferdinand Topacio—be heard first before the committee deliberates on Pimentel’s motion.


According to Topacio, they believe that they have provided enough legal justification for the non-presence of Quiboloy — that he is not the best person to answer questions about SMNI’s ownership.

“With all due respect, we believe we have provided legal justification for the non-presence of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy in our letter to the committee, your Honor, wherein the gist of it states that ‘based on the previous hearings of this Honorable committee, we have an idea of the information being required,’” Topacio said.

“And we have stated in this letter, your Honors, very respectfully that Pastor Quiboloy, for around four years now, has had no hand whatsoever in the running of SMNI whose franchise is under consideration,” he added.

Topacio said in Quiboloy’s stead, three KJC officials had attended the hearing to answer the lawmakers’ questions.

“Instead, to show our good faith and our due respect to this Honorable committee, and to show that we are not evading the subpoena your Honors, we have brought with us three persons who are in the best position — more than Pastor Quiboloy — and who have been the ones active since 2022 in the affairs of the [KJC],” he noted.

However, Pimentel and committee chairperson Parañaque City 2nd District Representative Gus Tambunting noted that Quiboloy had been invited as early as December 2023, but still refused to attend.


“Mr. Chair, we understand the explanation of Atty. Topacio, but the fact still remains that Pastor Quiboloy has not appeared in this committee, you are presenting actually three persons […] but the matter at hand Mr. Chair, I believe, still remains, is the non-appearance of Pastor Quiboloy,” Pimentel said.

“Just for the information of everyone, Pastor Quiboloy has been invited as far back as December, several invitations have been given to him, and he has not appeared — which prompted the honorable Pimentel to… he filed a motion for us to subpoena Pastor Quiboloy because of his non-appearance in previous hearings,” Tambunting added.

It was Pimentel last February 7 who moved that a subpoena be issued against  Quiboloy after Gabriela party-list Representative Arlene Brosas complained that the KJC leader had been absent several times.

Quiboloy was not showing up in the hearings, and members of the House of Representatives wanted him to answer questions about SMNI ownership.

Brosas asked SMNI legal counsel Mark Tolentino why Quiboloy received preferential treatment from SMNI hosts if the pastor was not part of the network’s day-to-day operations.

Tolentino said thanking Quiboloy was the prerogative of the hosts, and it was part of their free speech.

SMNI was initially probed by the House after Laban Kasama ang Bayan host Jeffrey Celiz wrongly claimed that Romualdez spent P1.8 billion for trips in 2023.

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House Secretary General Reginald Velasco clarified that the total travel cost for all House members and their staff from January 2023 to October 2023 was only P39.6 million.

Eventually, hearings on the network revealed possible violations of its franchise.

According to Pimentel, they are looking at three possible violations of SMNI’s franchise:

  • Section 4 mandates SMNI or Swara Sug Media Corporation — the legal name of SMNI — to “provide at all times sound and balanced programming”
  • Section 10 mandates SMNI to inform Congress about the sale of the company to other owners or other major changes
  • Section 11 mandates the SMNI to offer at least 30 percent of its stock to the public
TAGS: Contempt, Quiboloy

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