THE House committee on legislative franchises issued on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, a subpoena against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy amid its ongoing investigation against Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).
The panel approved the motion to issue a subpoena against Quiboloy to “compel” him to attend the next hearing.
Committee vice chairman Surigao del Sur Second District Representative Johnny Pimentel warned Quiboloy that if he will still not heed to the order, they would be forced to request for a contempt order for his arrest.
“We have invited him not once but several times already, but unfortunately, he has not attended our hearings,” he said.
In November, the committee launched an investigation against SMNI, which is owned by Swara Sug Media Corporation, the broadcasting arm of Quiboloy’s religious organization, Kingdom of Jesus Christ, after two of its program hosts claimed that House Speaker Martin Romualdez spent P1.8 billion in just a year for his foreign trips.
Romualdez denied the accusations.
The two hosts, former anti-insurgency task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz, who claimed to be a former high-ranking official of the New People's Army, were detained at the House of Representatives for a few days after they were cited in contempt during one of the hearings.
Celiz later admitted that the information from his Senate source was unverified.
1-Rider partylist Representative Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez filed House Bill 9710 seeking to revoke the legislative franchise granted to SMNI due to its involvement in the proliferation of fake news, as well as red tagging.
Gabriela partylist Representative Arlene Brosas also called out SMNI for continuously operating despite the indefinite suspension issued against it by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over violation to franchise terms.
The SMNI earlier filed a petition before the Court of Appeals seeking to stop the implementation of the NTC’s order.
The Senate has also launched an investigation against Quiboloy over the alleged abuses he committed against several former members of his church.
In response to the Senate’s call for him to attend the hearing to answer the allegations against him, Quiboloy said he will only face the accusations against him in a court of law. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)