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‘Quiboloy warrant stands despite SMNI franchise revocation’

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the revocation of the franchise of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), the arrest warrant issued against pastor Apollo Quiboloy by the House of Representatives committee on legislative franchises still stands.

Committee chairman and Parañaque City 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting said the recent decision of the House to revoke the franchise of Swara Sug Media Corp., which operates SMNI, does not mean that the contempt citation and arrest order against Quiboloy are already invalidated.

“Orders issued by the House against Pastor Quiboloy subsist as these relate not only to the repeal of SMNI’s franchise grant,” Tambunting said in a text message.

He added that there are still House resolutions concerning SMNI that are pending with the commitee.

Last March 15, the committee issued a contempt citation and arrest warrant against Quiboloy for failing to attend a hearing on SMNI’s franchise violations.

The committee conducted six hearings since November last year, but none of them was attended by Quiboloy, who founded the television network.

Last Wednesday, the House approved House Bill (HB) 9710 on third and final reading to revoke SMNI’s franchise.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Tingog party-list Rep. Jude Acidre said the approval of HB 9710 does not automatically invalidate the arrest warrant.

“The arrest warrant has to be rescinded officially by an act of the committee or by the leadership of the House. It’s a formal step that has to be undertaken,” Acidre added.

He emphasized, however, that “serious considerations” concerning the two orders may still be taken.

“Mr. Quiboloy has actually disrespected the House by not appearing despite many invitations to attend such hearings or investigations,” Acidre said.

The chamber could not just let it pass if a person does not want to appear at hearings despite repeated invitations, according to the lawmaker.

“We cannot allow that to be a precedent for future investigations that just because you don’t like to show up, you won’t show up,” he said.

He stressed that this would “significantly hamper the job” of the Congress.

“We have to act decisively, and I’m confident that the leadership