IF HE were an ordinary Juan dela Cruz, the reverend pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy will not merit a line in a news story. Unfortunately or fortunately for him he is a long-time bosom friend of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The other day the good pastor's name was emblazoned in the front page of a national newspaper as among those who registered twice. Whoever wrote it must not have done his or her homework for it was obvious that the writer skipped some simple facts.
Despite this journalistic iniquity however Pastor Quiboloy will be the favorite staple in the news and will undoubtedly be the center of unkind diatribes by the political adversaries of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte simply on the basis that the two are good friends.
Recall how his name was being dragged in the murder of a certain Dominador Diarog. The conjurers of the warped story were hoping that discrediting ACQ will diminish the popularity of Duterte. That seemingly was a stupid inference as the allegations appear to be baseless. Family feud and murder within the family was blamed on the pastor to blemish his image. For what?
When the Filipino-Chinese establishments in Davao City were raided by the Presidential Anti-smuggling Group among those earmarked to be raided was the compound of Jesus Christ the Name Above Every Other Name. Something leaked there which reached the ears of President Arroyo prompting PASG to back-off. What was the fault of the Chinese businessmen? They are long-time friends of Duterte, two of whom were buddies of the mayor when he was still in short pants.
The political gadflies, still hungry for blood of the enemies, have not stopped annoying. The other day, the provincial supervisor of the Commission on Elections, Atty. Maria Fe Barlaan, provided the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) a list of purged registered voters culled from various validation centers for the biometrics processing ordered by COMELEC in 2003. There was no dramatics involved as these were merely a matter of course. To her surprise, Attorney Barlaan told me, the list landed in the Philippine Inquirer and which cunningly lifted the name of ACQ from the list of 27,856.
As a backgrounder, we all remember that the order of the poll body in 2003 was to go to any of the several biometric centers in the city. It was his bad luck that Pastor Quiboloy went to a biometric center in Buhangin (which is near his mission's cathedral) where the validation went haywire. Because of the computer glitch that corrupted the validation process in the Buhangin Comelec biometric center most of those affected were advised to go elsewhere. In the case of Pastor Quiboloy, he was advised to just go to Calinan biometric center which is nearer Tamayong where he is a registered voter. The problem of the Comelec was that even as the Buhangin biometric process was corrupted, a portion of the validation remained in their computer database. It was only in 2008 when Comelec upgraded the computer system that they were able to retrieve the data.
Attorney Barlaan said that they took pride in purging the list which they even gave to PPCRV but was shocked to read the Inquirer's story which was slanted as if PPCRV stumbled on the irregularity.
Following the news, Speaker Prospero Nograles appeared on nationwide TV demanding investigation of the alleged double registration. Well, now you know, what else is new?
As to the fate of Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, there is a line in the bible which states: "The truth shall set you free."