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House leaves Quiboloy’s fate to Senate

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will no longer pursue and implement the warrant of arrest it issued against pastor Apollo Quiboloy after it approved on final reading the bill revoking the franchise of the evangelist’s alleged TV network.

“Congress has decided that we will give way to Senate so as not to create any complication on who would take custody of Quiboloy if there will be two arrest warrants,” Rep. Johnny Pimentel, vice chairman of the House committee on legislative franchises, said.

“The contempt order and arrest warrant from the House has been rendered moot and academic by virtue of the release of arrest warrant from the Senate,” Pimentel added, echoing the statement of Quiboloy’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

In an interview with One News’ “Storycon” last Monday, Topacio said the House warrant has been rendered moot after the panel headed by Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting wrapped up its probe and sent its committee report to the plenary, which also adjourned session last March 22.

The House voted 284-4, with four abstentions, to revoke the legislative franchise of Davao City-based Sonshine Media Network Inc. (SMNI), whose juridical name is Swara Sug Media Corp. – of which Quiboloy is believed to be the beneficial owner – after it was found to have violated its franchise.

The four congressmen who objected to SMNI’s closure were Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga’s second district, Paolo Duterte of Davao City’s first district, Ron Salo of party-list Kabayan and Drixie Cardema of Duterte Youth party-list.

The SMNI revocation will also need Senate approval, just like any other pending House bill.

The House-approved bill revoking the legislative franchise of SMNI will take the usual legislative route, which includes passing through the Senate for possible concurrence.

Rep. Jude Acidre of party-list Tingog said House Bill 9710 nullifying the franchise of Swara Sug Media Corp. will be sent to the Senate soon after lawmakers approved it on third and final reading last week.

“We cannot tell the Senate what to do, but we’re hoping that they will look at it objectively. They have to look at the evidence. We hope that this will be handled