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Quiboloy sues TV writer for libel

December 02, 2019 - Monday 6:12 PM by Allan Nawal

Article Banner Image INTERVIEW. Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy talks to the media in this file photo taken during the recent soft opening of the Christmas Village in Tamayong, Calinan District, Davao City. ARJOY M. CENIZA

DAVAO CITY – Televangelist Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy has sued a TV network writer for online libel over the latter's alleged malicious comments on Facebook.

A copy of the private suit was filed at the City Prosecutors Office of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) on July 9, 2019 by Quiboloy's lawyer, Israelito Torreon, and was obtained by this writer last week.

In his complaint, Quiboloy, leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ based in this city, claimed that Zenaida “Suzette” Doctolero of GMA-7 in Quezon City had called him names on Facebook – including landgrabber, murderer, human trafficker, and satan, starting on June 12, 2019.

Quiboloy said it was his followers who called his attention when they saw the Facebook posts, which “is viewable by the public in general” and can be read and commented on by anyone.

“It is to diminish the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence in the complainant, or to excite derogatory feelings or opinions about me, It contained imputations with bad intentions and unjustifiable motives, purposely to malign, dishonor, discredit and insult and assassinate my character and good reputation to the public as well as to the members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ,” Quiboloy's complaint reads.

In his complaint, Quiboloy claimed he has six million followers worldwide and that he had not committed any of the wrongdoing being imputed by Doctolero.

“Contrary to the accusations being hurled against me, my ministry nurtures the spiritual condition of children, young people and the elderly,” he said.

Quiboloy had tapped two witnesses against Doctolero, who had submitted a joint affidavit before IGACOS Deputy City Prosecutor Leah San Juan on July 10, 2019.

He also submitted screenshots of Doctolero's Facebook comments and posts.

In her counter-affidavit, which was submitted in September, Doctolero denied she had maligned Quiboloy.

She said her posts and comments had no malice because she made it clear that these were all allegations that Quiboloy had to address.

She said her posts had the Filipino words “daw” and “diumano” to indicate that the tags on Quiboloy had not been proven yet.

Doctolero also questioned Quiboloy's act of suing her as a private person when in fact he is clearly a public figure.

She quoted Quiboloy's claim of having six million followers to prove her point that the pastor was not a private person.

The IGACOS prosecutors office had sided with Quiboloy and had resolved that “an information for LIBEL under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to R.A. 10175 be filed in court against respondent ZENAIDA “SUZETTE” DOCTOLERO.”

In his resolution under NPS No. XI-07-INV-19G-00073 dated October 8, 2019, Associate Prosecution Attorney Michael Robledo took notice of Doctolero's use of “daw” and “diumano” in her social media posts and comments but said these are “immaterial, as the fragment within the parentheses only serves as respondent's basis in making the statement.”

Robledo said Doctolero's statements, including her claim that Quiboloy “is a human trafficker and is living in bounty by means of fraud” are “defamatory in nature.”

Robledo also trashed Doctolero's claim that Quiboloy is a public figure.

“In any event, the case of US v. Bustos does not apply under the premises. To emphasize, the principle laid down in the cited jurisprudence applies to public officers and not private individuals. It is note-worthy that complainant is still a private individual though he is regularly appearing in public and other media sources,” he said.