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Quiboloy’s Quest: Seeking Divine Guidance in the Highlands

MANILA, Philippines – Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, amidst the serene backdrop of Davao’s highlands, is fervently seeking “divine guidance” as he oversees operations at his Kingdom of Jesus Christ ministry, as per his legal counsel.

Attorney Ferdinand Topacio revealed that he and a team of legal experts convened with the embattled pastor in Davao last Wednesday. Their agenda included strategizing Quiboloy’s responses to potential contempt charges, as directed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Furthermore, the meeting addressed the House’s current endeavor to revoke the legislative franchise of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), an entity Quiboloy claims to have divested from.

In an interview with “Storycon” on Cignal TV’s One News, Topacio provided clarification regarding the leadership dynamics within the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC). He emphasized that Quiboloy remains at the helm of the organization. However, there’s a contingency plan in place wherein former president Rodrigo Duterte would step in as administrator of the KOJC estate if circumstances require.

Topacio elucidated that this arrangement is rooted in a contingency basis, meaning it would only come into effect if Quiboloy becomes incapable of overseeing the extensive properties of the organization. As estate administrator, Duterte’s responsibilities would include safeguarding the properties against legal challenges such as freeze orders, expropriations, or forfeiture attempts, ensuring their preservation and protection.

Quiboloy’s lawyer clarified that the religious leader is not in hiding but rather in Davao, situated within the prayer mountain. According to the attorney, Quiboloy is engaging in a period of prayer and introspection to seek divine guidance. Topacio emphasized that Quiboloy remains composed and is comforted by a clear conscience during this time.

Regarding the legal matters at hand, Topacio, invoking lawyer-client confidentiality, refrained from divulging the specifics of the options presented to Quiboloy by his legal team. Additionally, he remained mum on whether the pastor would appear before Congress, which is probing allegations of human and sex trafficking against him, along with purported violations related to the SMNI franchise.

The issue of franchise revocation has progressed to the plenary following its approval in the House legislative franchises committee. Topacio expressed skepticism about the procedures employed by the House in pursuing the franchise’s revocation.

The lawyer clarified that Quiboloy was not in hiding but rather in Davao, specifically at the prayer mountain.

House Bill 9710, submitted by Panel chairman Rep. Gus Tambunting of Parañaque’s second district, has been presented to the other 308 House colleagues for approval. The committee report detailed SMNI’s violations regarding its franchise.

Rep. Rodge Gutierrez from the 1-Rider party-list authored HB 9710, which could lead to the revocation of SMNI’s legislative franchise under Republic Act 11422. This act should be valid until 2044, but due to multiple franchise violations, lawmakers are considering its repeal.

Tambunting, during his sponsorship speech, emphasized the grave violations committed by SMNI, including red tagging, fake news dissemination, and breaches of broadcasting standards.

Gutierrez highlighted SMNI’s failure to provide truthful and balanced reporting, citing instances such as the exaggerated travel expenses of SMNI anchors and the network’s undisclosed collaboration with a Chinese TV network.

SMNI’s non-compliance with ownership dispersal and reportorial requirements over almost three decades further fueled calls for its franchise revocation, especially amid concerns about national security and stability in light of maritime conflicts with China.

Sen. Robin Padilla defended his stance opposing the Senate’s investigation on Quiboloy, stressing the importance of due process and adherence to Senate rules of procedure, despite criticisms on social media.

Padilla clarified that his actions are not to defend Quiboloy but to ensure procedural fairness in the Senate’s handling of the investigation.

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