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Quiboloy cannot refuse Senate subpoenas – Justice Carpio

MANILA, Philippines — Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) founder and leader Apollo Quiboloy cannot refuse to attend a Senate inquiry on accusations of human trafficking and sexual abuse against him and his members, as it is his obligation as a citizen to attend when summoned, according to retired Supreme Court (SC) justice Antonio Carpio.

Carpio said Quiboloy could not refuse to attend the hearings of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality on the ground that the inquiry, the preacher’s camp claimed, violates his constitutional rights to due process and self-incrimination.

Carpio added that the Senate could not violate his right against self-incrimination when he has not even been questioned yet.

“You can’t say that the Senate or the senators will violate your constitutional rights. That’s premature. You are obliged to attend. As a citizen, you must appear,” Carpio said in an interview over Radyo 630 yesterday.

“Before you are asked a question, there is no danger to you yet of self-incrimination. You have to attend the hearing first and if you are asked a self-incriminating question, then that’s the time you will say, ‘no, I will not answer that,’” he added.

The retired SC justice reiterated that the embattled KOJC leader could not assume that he would be asked a self-incrimination question during the hearing and use that as a basis not to attend.

Carpio said Quiboloy has the right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions, but he has to attend the hearings first.

The Senate earlier ordered Quiboloy’s arrest and detention for his continued refusal to attend the Senate panel hearings.

The preacher’s camp has filed a petition before the SC to stop the Senate from enforcing the arrest order and to stop demanding Quiboloy attend the hearings.

Carpio said the SC has already issued several decisions upholding the Senate’s power to summon individuals in legislative inquiries, and this could prompt the high tribunal to either drop Quiboloy’s petition for lack of merit or take it up.

Quiboloy’s lawyer Elvis Balayan earlier said the pastor’s camp will “exert all available legal remedies to protect his constitutional rights.”