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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Lawyers: Quiboloy doesn’t have SMNI info house wants

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Kingdom of Jesus Christ leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy is only an honorary chairman of Sonshine Media Network International and does not have the information the House Committee on Legislative Franchises is summoning him for, his lawyers said Saturday.

Lawyers Ferdinand Topacio, Joselito Lomangaya and Raphael Antonio Andrada wrote panel chair and Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, saying their client “does not possess the specific details or documents.”

Tambunting declined to comment on the letter on Friday night but reiterated that the subpoena is “personal” to Quiboloy.

“It is within the discretion of Congress to subpoena the particular persons who would best answer the questions posed in the inquiry,” the lawmaker said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.

The committee resumes its hearing on March 12. It is also tackling a bill revoking the congressional franchise of Swara Sug Media Corp., SMNI’s corporate name.

The lawyers said that Quiboloy “has not been involved in the management and operations of SMNI since the last quarter of 2018” and since the franchise renewal in 2019.

They said the Securities and Exchange Commission had been informed of Quiboloy’s replacement as executive pastor by Marlon Acobo in December 2022. The change is also reflected in the network’s amended Article of Incorporation released in January 2023, they added.

“Thereafter, the only title, (if one may call it that) that [Quiboloy] has continued to hold in SMNI is that of ‘Honorary Chairman’ which, as the name implies, is purely honorific in character,” they told the House committee.

They said the panel should instead direct its inquiries to Acobo, lawyer Eunice Ambrocio and Maria Norfelly Marimon.

“Therefore, we respectfully request that the Committee issues the corresponding subpoenae to the aforementioned individuals in the stead of [Quiboloy],” they said.

The Senate is also conducting a separate investigation into allegations of abuse within the KOJC religious group, where Quiboloy bills himself the Appointed Son of God. With Maricel Cruz

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