Quiboloy should answer the OFWs he exploited—Hontiveros

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy should respond to the complaints of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who claimed that their salaries were forcibly taken as donations for himself and his religious group Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC).


Senator Risa Hontiveros said this on Sunday, March 10 saying Quiboloy—who now stands accused of rape, human trafficking, sexual violence and child abuse—should be made to answer these allegations. 


Hontiveros recalled the testimony of Reynita Fernandez, a Singapore-based OFW, who told the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality that she and and other domestic workers were pressured and harassed into giving 90 percent of their salaries to Quiboloy.


“Araw-gabi kumayod ang mga OFW, tapos imbes na mapunta sa pamilya nila ang pinagtrabahuan nila, pilit silang hinuhuthutan ni Quiboloy (Our OFWs have been working day and night, then instead of giving the money they earned to their families, Quiboloy made it a point to extort them),” the senator lamented.


“Di na nga nakukuha ang sweldo nila, pinagbebenta pa sila ng kung ano-ano para lang maka pagremit, hindi sa kanilang pamilya kundi sa Kingdom (They don't get their salaries anymore, and yet they are forced tosell things just to make remittances, not to their families but to the Kingdom),” Hontiveros said. 


“We call our OFWs our modern-day heroes, yet we are failing to protect them from fraudsters like Quiboloy. Sana magkaisa ang Senado para mabigyan ang ating mga kababayan ng hustisya (I hope the Senate will unite to give justice to our people),” the senator added. 


Hontiveros, who heads the Senate panel, earlier cited the KOJC leader in contempt because of failing to show up even after a subpoena was issued. 


Quiboloy has refused to honor the subpoena, invoking his right against self-incrimination. 


Hontiveros, however, warned that the invocation of the right against self-incrimination must be made by a witness actually present and on a per question basis. 


“This has been settled by the Supreme Court. Sa madaling salita, kailangan niya parin magpakita sa Senado (He still needs to appear in the Senate hearing),” she pointed out.


“Ang bibigat na ng mga paratang sa kanya, pero hindi parin siya nagpapakita (The accusations against him are very serious, yet he still refuses to appear). Why is he hiding? Why is he so afraid? Takot ba siyang hindi niya madepensahan ng maayos ang mga inaakusa sa kanya (Is he afraid that he can’t defend the allegations against him)?” Hontiveros asked. 


The senator noted that more victim-survivors have reached to her office to share the horrific abuses they experienced as members of KOJC. 


“I call on my colleagues in the Senate to actually listen to these victim-survivors. Sigurado ako na kapag mapakinggan nila ang mga karanasan ng mga dating miyembro ni Quiboloy, walang mag-aatubiling manindigan para sa katarungan (I'm sure that when they hear the experiences of Quiboloy's former members, no one will hesitate to stand up for justice),” she said.