MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday filed a P100-million libel and cyberlibel case against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, after the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ claimed that the boxer-lawmaker had a P3.5-billion project in his home province Sarangani.
In a 13-page complaint filed before the Makati Prosector's Office, Pacquiao said that Quibuloy should pay P100 million in damages plus attorney’s fees for “using his power and influence to spread fake news and false information.”
"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," the senator said in a statement.
"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," he said.
The pastor’s camp has yet to receive a copy of the cyber libel complaint, as of writing.
Quiboloy earlier alleged that Pacquiao had been involved in anomalies after the senator, who is rumored to be running for President in 2022, drew the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte for saying there is corruption in government.
Quiboloy also had claimed that Pacquiao misused P3.5 billion for the unfinished Sarangani Sports Training Center, saying the project eventually became a "white elephant."
But the boxing senator's camp says the P3.5 billion "was actually appropriated for the Philippines Sports Training Center in Bataan, and Pacquaio did not have anything to do with the project."
Pacquiao had said the building that Quiboloy showed on his social media posts dated back to 1996 and was not the one that he had constructed for P300 million to P500 million.
Quiboloy's legal counsel Israelito Torreon alleged that Pacquiao's libel charges might be a “retaliatory and a political move."
The senator is a public official and should “expect criticisms and critical evaluation of performances” from the public, he said.
“As a public officer, Senator Pacquiao should not be too onion-skinned if somebody will ask him questions multi-million projects. So that’s our stand on the matter,” Torreon said.
Pacquiao worked as Sarangani representative from 2010 to 2016.
— With a report from Chrislen Bulosan