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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Ejercito changes mind on contempt order vs Quiboloy

Sen Jose Victor Ejercito withdraws his signature in a manifestation opposing a contempt order seeking the arrest of Apollo Quiboloy, pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, saying the religious leader should “get an opportunity to present his side.”

JV Ejercito 2024-03-07 Flip-flop

Ejercito was one of five senators who signed a manifestation to reverse the contempt order on Quiboloy, saying that the Justice department “has already pursued sexual abuse and qualified trafficking” against the pastor.

Sen. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito took back his signature in a “manifestation” opposing a contempt order seeking the arrest of Apollo Quiboloy, self-styled pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ sect.

STATEMENT

Ejercito wrote Sen. Robinhood Padilla on March 7, informing him of his change of mind to allow Quiboloy an opportunity to answer the allegations being investigated by the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.   

Part of Ejercito’s letter reads:

“After thoughtful contemplation, I would like to respectfully inform you of my intention to withdraw my signature affixed in the document objecting [to] the contempt order directed towards Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.”

Source: JV Ejercito Official Facebook page, Official Statement of Senator JV Ejercito on the reversal of the contempt citation against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, March 7, 2024

Ejercito added that “serious allegations of rape” from the March 5 hearing of the Senate committee “prompted” him to review the facts and testimonies, resulting in his withdrawal of support for the reversal of the committee’s ruling against Quiboloy.

FACT

In a press conference five hours before Ejercito withdrew his signature, Padilla named him among five senators who signed the written manifestation calling for the reversal of the contempt ruling on Quiboloy.

VERA Files Fact Check: Sen. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito took back his signature in a “manifestation” opposing a contempt order seeking the arrest of Apollo Quiboloy, self-styled pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ sect.

Ejercito said his earlier decision to sign the objection was based on the fact that the “Department of Justice (DOJ) has already pursued charges of sexual abuse and qualified trafficking against Pastor Quiboloy” and that he believed it was more appropriate for the DOJ to investigate the issue.

BACKSTORY

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, cited Quiboloy in contempt and ruled for his arrest after the pastor skipped the March 5 hearing on allegations of human trafficking, sexual abuses and forced labor thrown at him.

Padilla, without giving a clear reason,  objected to the committee ruling. Hontiveros, citing Senate rules, said that a majority of the members of a committee, in this case eight, has seven days to overturn the contempt ruling.

In his March 7 press briefing, Padilla explained that his attempt to block the contempt order on Quiboloy is a show of democracy and that he believes the allegations against Quiboloy are better tackled in court, invoking the principle of the separation of church and state.

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Sources

Senate of the Philippines, Press Conference of Senator Robinhood C. Padilla (March 7, 2024), March 7, 2024

Sen. JV Ejercito stating his reason for objecting the contempt order

Senate of the Philippines, Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality (March 5, 2024), March 5, 2024

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)