MANILA, Philippines (Updated) — Senator Manny Pacquiao filed on Tuesday a cyberlibel complaint against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and demanded him to pay P100 million in damages for spreading “fabricated” claims about the lawmaker.
Based on the video of Radyo Inquirer, Pacquiao filed the complaint against Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “Appointed Son of God,” at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.
In a statement, Pacquiao said the complaint stemmed from a television appearance and social media post made by Quiboloy where he claimed that the senator had misused funds for the unfinished Sarangani Sports Training Center. Quiboloy allegedly claimed that the project had cost the government some P3.5 billion.
Pacquiao represented Sarangani in the lower chamber of Congress before he became a senator.
“He used deliberate falsehood to brainwash the minds of the Filipino public, recklessly propagating [it] to blacken the image and reputation of an honest public servant. He even had the audacity to quote the Holy Scriptures in furtherance of his lies, misleading his flock, and confusing the public, with the end in view of blackening another’s reputation,” the complaint read.
“His statements, as outlined, are far from hallow. They are criminal in nature and cannot go unpunished,” the document added.
Pacquiao noted that before his trip to the United States for his boxing match in August, a video was leaked wherein he was heard complaining about the corruption in the Philippines. He said the video apparently triggered President Rodrigo Duterte to challenge him to prove his corruption claims.
Pacquiao then held a press conference to show “proof” of the graft and corruption happening in the Duterte administration. The senator said that right after the press conference, Quiboloy appeared on television through his SMNI network and on social media where he accused the lawmaker of embezzling public funds for the construction of the Sarangani Sports Training Center.
But according to Pacquiao, the P3.5 billion was actually appropriated for the Philippines Sports Training Center in Bataan. He said he did not have anything to do with the project and that the “dilapidated” buildings shown in Quiboloy’s video were actually old facilities at the Sarangani Province Sports Complex.
In an earlier interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Pacquiao likewise denied Quiboloy’s claims.
“Patawarin ako ng Panginoon pero hindi po talaga ‘yan (Quiboloy) totoong pastor kasi gumagawa siya ng mga fabricated story. ‘Yung video na kinunan nila, ‘yung pinalabas nila, building po yoon nung maliit na bata pa ako, nung 1996 pa,” the senator said.
(May God forgive me, but he is not a true pastor because he makes fabricated stories. The video they showed was a building that existed when I was young, in 1996.)
“’Yung buildings na ipinatayo natin, hindi pinakita (They did not show the buildings we have built),” he added, saying that funding for sports facilities in Sarangani only amounted to P300 million to 500 million.
Pacquiao, in an interview with reporters shortly after filing the complaint, said the P100 million he was demanding from Quiboloy will be donated to the poor.