By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

Kingdom of Jesus Christ leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy (Photo courtesy of Quiboloy FB page)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday denied the alleged assassination plot against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and urged the televangelist to “say his side” about his alleged abuses.

“Walang may gustong mag-assassinate sa kanya (No one wants to assassinate him),” Marcos said in an interview at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, in response to Quiboloy’s claim that he and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos are conniving with the United States government to assassinate him.

“I would just advise him that just kung mayroon naman siyang sasabihin (if he wants to say anything), he has an opportunity in the hearings both in the House and in the Senate to say his side of the story,” he added.

Marcos clarified that the cases against Quiboloy in the US were filed before he became president, adding that the KOJC leader may just be “very worried” to the point that he had come up with such an assassination claim.

He said Quiboloy should face the congressional inquiries to refute all the allegations hurled at him.

The situation would only get worse if Quiboloy continues to skip the hearings as he could be cited in contempt, Marcos also warned.

“That’s why my advice for him is to just face the questioning in the House and the Senate. Marinig natin ang kaniyang side para malaman natin kung ano ba talagang nangyayari dito (We could hear his side to know the truth),” Marcos said.

“We’re trying to be fair here and allowing him, an opportunity and fora to make his case. So, I think he should take advantage of that,” he added.

In an audio recording, Quiboloy, citing information from a reliable source, accused the US and Philippine governments of working together to eliminate him through rendition.

Quiboloy has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, California for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; sex trafficking of children; and bulk cash smuggling.

A federal warrant was issued for his arrest on Nov. 10, 2021.

The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality summoned Quiboloy to attend its hearing on the alleged abuses within the KOJC.

The House of Representatives also issued the same against him amid the chamber’s hearings on the alleged franchise violations of Swara Sug Media Corporation, which operates Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros agreed with Marcos’ call for Quiboloy to comply with the subpoenas issued against him.

“Well, sa kabila nung pagbanat ni Quiboloy pati kay Presidente, siguro naman ang pananalita ng occupant ng pinakamataas na opisina sa ating gobyerno at bansa, siguro naman may kahit konting bigat (because of the tirades of Quiboloy even against the President, the words of the occupant of the highest office in our government and country should have a weight),” Hontiveros said in a press briefing Wednesday.

She reiterated that the Senate remains open and is looking forward to hearing Quiboloy’s side.

But Hontiveros warned Quiboloy’s camp that he would be cited in contempt and order for his arrest when they continue to ignore the subpoena issued against him.

She said they have not received any information yet from Quiboloy expressing his intent to attend the next Senate hearing. (With a report from Wilnard Bacelonia/PNA)