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House arrest warrant vs Quiboloy moot – lawyer

MANILA, Philippines — Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s lawyer says the arrest warrant issued by a House of Representatives panel is moot as the panel’s hearings are already adjourned.

“There is no purpose to the arrest warrant since the hearings have ended. What would be the purpose of bringing Pastor Quiboloy before the House committee when it has already terminated its hearings and come out with its own findings?” Ferdinand Topacio said in an interview on Monday over One News’ “Storycon.”

The House committee on legislative franchises earlier issued a contempt citation and arrest warrant against Quiboloy for his continued failure to attend a hearing on the franchise violations of the Sonshine Media Network Inc. (SMNI), which he founded.

Quiboloy is the founder and leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. He is wanted in the US for sex trafficking of children.

Citing a 2018 ruling of the Supreme Court (Balag vs. Senate), Topacio claimed the panel no longer has the power to cite in contempt since its purpose has already been served and ended.

Under the cited ruling, the high court declared the Senate and the House have no power to impose the indefinite detention of a person cited in contempt during its inquiries.

It reminded senators and congressmen that their powers are not limitless and they need to stay within the bounds of their legislative inquiry, as resource persons also have fundamental rights that need to be upheld.

“Accordingly, as long as there is a legitimate legislative inquiry, then the inherent power of contempt by the Senate may be properly exercised. Conversely, once the said legislative inquiry concludes, the exercise of the inherent power of contempt ceases and there is no more genuine necessity to penalize the detained witness,” the ruling read.

Apart from the adjournment of the House panel hearing, the lower chamber’s arrest warrant is also moot and academic considering that the Senate has also already issued its arrest order against Quiboloy, Topacio said, citing the pronouncements of the House panel’s vice chair Johnny Pimentel.

“Pimentel said the order of contempt and the corresponding directive to the House sergeant-at-arms before the House has