Couple charged with libel for branding Quiboloy's sect a 'cult'

Sun Star (Philippines)/July 23, 2005
By Raquel C. Bagnol

The City Prosecutor's Office charged a couple from Baguio City with libel for allegedly branding televangelist Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and his religious sect Jesus Christ the Name Above Every Name as "a cult out to destroy families."

Facing charges before the Regional Trial Court for libel are Aurelio and Erlinda Rillon.

Chief City Prosecutor Raul Bendigo approved the filing of the criminal case based on the penned resolution of investigating prosecutor Emilio Dayanghirang III, who found probable cause to hold the couple for court trial.

Records show that the Rillons sent a letter to Police General Reynaldo Velasco and the Baguio City council sometime in October and December 2004 accusing Quiboloy and his group of being a cult out to exploit minors.

The complaint came after their daughter failed to return to their residence after attending a Youth Congress in Davao City summer of 2004.

Dayanghirang said the letter of the Rillons affected the religious standing of the religious group since all claims of the respondents were out of basis.

The case was resolved based on the complaint of Nelida Lizada, a central administrator of the religious organization.

Lizada said the letter of the couple had defamed the group since the letter of the couple had also been published in a national daily.

She said there is truth to the claim of the couple that they have exploited their daughter since it was the daughter who refuses to go home because she wanted to become a full-time member of the group.

The complainant said the kidnapping filed by couple against them had also been dismissed already by the City Prosecutor's Office after their daughter testified that she was not kidnapped or forced by the group to stay in Davao City.

She added that when the couple wrote the letter, there was ill motive to malign the group. Aided by their lawyer, the couple denied the accusation against them saying their letter is a privilege communication.

The two respondents claimed they have no other intention when they wrote the letter but just to bring back their daughter. The two added that the prosecution office of Davao has no jurisdiction over the case since the incident took place in Baguio City.

Dayanghirang however downplayed their defense saying pieces of evidence held them liable for the case of libel.

Dayanghirang recommended a bond of P10,000 for the temporary liberty of the couple.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.