SENATOR Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao filed a P100-million libel suit against President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s spiritual adviser for accusing him of corruption.
The boxing champion filed the complaint against Apollo C. Quiboloy at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.
In his 13-page complaint, the senator cited Mr. Quiboloy’s comments on TV and social media posts accusing him of having misused funds for the unfinished Sarangani Sports Training Center that eventually became a “white elephant.”
Mr. Quiboloy allegedly used his “power and influence to spread fake news and false information.”
“In a democratic society, public officials like Senator Manny Pacquiao should expect criticisms and critical evaluation of their performance from citizens whom they are expected to serve,” Marie Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, Mr. Quiboloy’s lawyer, said in a video posted on YouTube.
She also said their client had not accused the lawmaker of any wrongdoing but only floated a question regarding the matter. Mr. Quiboloy’s comments were “constitutionally protected speech and expression,” she added.
Mr. Quiboloy earlier challenged Mr. Pacquiao to a debate as he showed photos of dilapidated bleachers and overgrown grass at the center. Mr. Pacquiao said these were old facilities at the Sarangani Province Sports Complex. “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,” according to copy of his complaint.
“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.”
Mr. Pacquiao vowed that if he is awarded damages, he would use the money to build homes and help poor Filipinos. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan