Juxtaposed: Maricel Soriano’s Senate appearance and Quiboloy’s snub of hearings

May 8, 2024 - 5:52 PM
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Maricel Soriano_Senate hearing
Actress Maricel Soriano during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on May 7, 2024 (senateofthephilippines/YouTube)

Veteran actress Maricel Soriano‘s attendance at the Senate hearing on Monday was compared to that of fugitive pastor Apollo Quiboloy who has snubbed repeated summons of him for alleged abuses against his former followers.

The “Diamond Star” attended the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on Tuesday after her name allegedly appeared in a confidential list of big-time personalities using illegal drugs dated 2012.

Former Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency agent Jonathan Morales claimed that the actress and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. were included in the supposed list.

PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazo already said that the documents were fake last April.

However, this did not stop Sen. Bato dela Rosa, chairperson of the Senate panel, from inviting the actress to the hearing.

According to the senator, he only invited Maricel due to her alleged connection to a condominium unit in Makati City, said to be involved in illegal drug activities.

Maricel admitted that she owned the unit but has since sold it in 2012.

“Nabenta ko na ho ‘yun. Wala na ako dun,” she told the Senate during the inquiry.

The actress also admitted that facing the Senate for the first time in her life was a “nerve-wracking and scary” experience.

“Sa totoo lang po, hindi po malinaw sa akin kung bakit po ako naimbitahan sa hearing,” Maricel said.

“Nagtataka lang po ako dahil lahat ng tumestigo dito ay nagsabing hindi na-verify ang information ni Mr. Morales at walang imbestigasyon na naganap. Pasyensya na po kung nalilito po talaga ako dito,” she added.

The actress also appealed that her lawyer be allowed to answer legal questions on her behalf.

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa said he was a bit “soft” on Maricel during the hearing since he already saw her nervous demeanor upon entering the hearing room.

The senator also said that he does not intend to humiliate but to supposedly get to the bottom of the issue.

On the other hand, Morales said that he had already forgotten the name of the confidential informant who gave him information on the actress’ supposed link to illegal drugs.

Sen. Robinhood Padilla, a former showbiz personality who assisted Maricel in attending the hearing, lamented that his fellows in the show business were being dragged into the issue of politics.

“Naaawa po ako sa artista. Kasi ako, banatan ako kaliwa’t kanan ngayon, okay lang pumasok ako sa pulitika. ‘Di ka pwedeng balat sibuyas dito… Sana sa pagkakataong ngayon ay isipin ng lahat na trabaho ang pag-aarista, hindi ito raket. Imahe. Nabubuhay kami sa magandang imahe. Ang trabaho pumapasok sa amin dahil sa magandang image,” he said.

“Ang pakiusap namin, huwag sanang magkaroon ng kulay pulitika. Huwag naman. I-save naman ninyo ang mga artista, ‘di naman ‘yan laruan. Kapag may namatay na artista, vine-video pa ng pulis, pambihira. Tapos ilalabas sa internet at social media. Tao din ‘yan, tao rin kami. Sana po kaunting, kahit sabi nga ni [Fernando Poe Jr.], kahit kaunting pagtingin,” Padilla added.

‘Saludo’ 

Maricel’s attendance at the Senate hearing earned buzz on social media as some Pinoys lauded her for appearing before the lawmakers following the allegations.

Her initiative was juxtaposed with the constant snub of Kingdom of Jesus Chris leader Apollo Quiboloy to the Senate’s summons on his alleged abuse against his former followers.

“Saludo kay Ms. Maricel, she has the guts to attend the Senate. The perverted Quiboloy is a coward [to] even attend a single hearing,” an online user wrote.

“Si Maricel, walang kasalanan, pinatawag ng Senado, humarap, possibly kahihiyan ito sa kaniya. Pero matapang siyang pumunta. Si Quiboloy, may reklamo at may sala, pinatawag sa senado, nagtago at pinagtatanggol pa mismo ng mga senador na mismong nagpatawag kay Maricel,” another user said.

“The fact that a woman like Inay Maricel Soriano has more guts to attend a hearing and face charges to clear her name is one hell of bravery! Meanwhile, a man proclaiming himself as the Son-of-God is nowhere to be found, protektado ng iba dyan. Funneh! Go @officialmaryaph!” another user exclaimed.

“Aside from [fire emoji] at natusta si @BatoDelarosa, I would like to point out the fact that Ms. Maricel Soriano came [and] answered [the] allegations hurled against her. Ganyan kapag hindi guilty, hinaharap agad ang issue to clear one’s name.
‘Di tulad ni Quiboloy na tago [nang] tago, halatang guilty,” wrote a different user.

There are already two arrest warrants against Quiboloy, who has yet to be located by authorities after evading past Senate probes as his former followers accuse him of alleged abuse.

A court in Davao City has ordered him arrested for child and sexual abuse charges, while a court in Pasig City has ordered him arrested for a non-bailable qualified human trafficking.

Quiboloy was also indicted by a federal grand jury in California for sexual abuse, human trafficking and money laundering, among others. He is likewise included in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “most wanted” list for human trafficking.

In line with this, there is also the Senate’s arrest order against the self-appointed “Son of God” for refusing to appear before its committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality on allegations of human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse and violence against him.

As of Wednesday, the camp of Quiboloy has surrendered five guns to the police. His gun permits have previously been canceled by the Philippine National Police.

The pastor’s representatives said they would surrender the other remaining guns in possession. Reports said Quiboloy has 19 assorted firearms.

Department of Justice Assistant Secretary and spokesman Mico Clavano previously said that based on their information, Quiboloy is still hiding in the Philippines pending his two warrants of arrest.

The National Bureau of Investigation has urged the preacher to surrender after authorities failed to locate him in Calinan district, Davao City on May 5 following reports of vehicles entering and leaving the premises.

However, his lawyer Kathleen Kaye Laurente has accepted the arrest warrant against him.

The Bureau of Immigration has canceled the passport of the accused.