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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sara Duterte stands by Quiboloy, SMNI; urges lawmakers to give them ‘a day in court’

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Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte released a video statement Tuesday to declare her support for Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy and his Sonshine Media Network, Inc. (SMNI) amid ongoing public scrutiny.

“Justice and the truth cannot be achieved in trial by publicity, but by a day in court,” Duterte said in a two-minute video released through the SMNI program “Totoong Boses ng Bayan.”

Duterte appealed to lawmakers who summoned Quiboloy in separate congressional hearings to stop making him appear like he was already guilty. She described what the pastor has been experiencing lately as an example of unjust persecution.

Sa mga ginagawang pagdinig ay tila pinatawan na ng guilty verdict si Pastor Quiboloy kahit na nakabatay lamang ang mga pagdinig na ito sa mga paratang ng mga testigo na nagkukubli ng kanilang katauhan at hindi mapatunayan ang kredibilidad,”Duterte said.

(In the ongoing trials it seems that Pastor Quiboloy has already been imposed a guilty verdict even as the hearings were only based on the testimonies of witnesses who were hiding their identities and could not prove their credibility.)

Quiboloy is facing charges of sexual assault, human trafficking, labor violations, among other allegations of abuse. He also has a standing warrant of arrest from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for some of his crimes in the United States.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate panel investigating Quiboloy, likewise cited him in contempt and called for his arrest after repeatedly ignoring subpoenas that required him to attend the hearings.

The Vice President also pointed out that the indefinite suspension of SMNI is an issue of media freedom. The broadcast network is in danger of losing its legislative franchise over accusations of spreading false information and red-tagging.

Hindi biro ang mga pangyayari at paratang na ganito. Nararapat lamang na mabigyan ng patas na laban at sa tamang korte. (These developments and allegations are not a joke. It is only appropriate that they are given fair trial in the proper court),” she said.

Duterte then went on to preach Bible verses to justify her position, quoting an excerpt from the gospel of Matthew, in which those who are being persecuted are more blessed because they will receive better rewards from heaven.

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