By Claire Morales True
MAKATI CITY – Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao made good his statement to file libel complaint against an erstwhile ally, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Davao City-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ group.
On September 14, Pacquiao and lawyers went to the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office and filed a P100-million libel and cyberlibel cases against Quiboloy, who is also President Rodrio Duterte’s spiritual adviser and owner of the SMNI News Channel. Quiboloy himself had figured in cases and controversies, including the alleged attempt to smuggle out of Hawaii hundreds of dollars using his private plane.
The root cause of the complaint was Quiboloy’s claim on his television channel and social media that the boxer-lawmaker had allegedly misused government funds in the unfinished P3.5-billion Sarangani Sports Training Center project and supported it with an old photo of the unfinished project.
It turned out the project was not his and the photo was taken in 1996 when he was not the lawmaker for the province. He served as Sarangani congressman only from 2010 to 2016.
In his 13-page complaint, Pacquiao said that Quibuloy should pay P100 million in damages plus attorney’s fees for “using his power and influence to spread fake news and false information.”
“He used this deliberate falsehood to brainwash the minds of the Filipino public, recklessly propagating lies to blacken the image and reputation of an honest public servant,” the senator said in a statement.
“He even had the audacity to quote the Holy Scripture in furtherance of his lies, misleading his flock, and confusing the public, with the end in view of blackening another’s reputation,” he said.
The pastor’s camp did not answer Pacquiao’s complaint and merely said it was part of Pacquiao’s propaganda for the coming elections.
Quiboloy criticized Pacquiao and made the allegation on corruption after the senator alleged there was a web of corruption in government, drawing ire of his friend, President Duterte.
Quiboloy had claimed that Pacquiao misused P3.5 billion for the unfinished Sarangani Sports Training Center, saying the project eventually became a “white elephant.”
But the senator said the P3.5 billion “was actually appropriated for the Philippines Sports Training Center in Bataan, and Pacquaio did not have anything to do with the project.”
Pacquiao had said the building that Quiboloy showed on his social media posts dated back to 1996 and was not the one that he had constructed for P300 million to P500 million.