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House panel cites Quiboloy for contempt for snubbing SMNI franchise hearings

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu March 12,2024 - 10:17 PM

Quiboloy contempt

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.

ALSO READ: Duterte named administrator of KJC properties

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.

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

ALSO READ: Quiboloy told to face Senate probe on sex raps

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.

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.

ALSO READ: House panel summons televangelist Quiboloy for SMNI franchise probe

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.

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
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TAGS: contempt, hearing, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, SMNI

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