Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday filed a P100-million libel and cyberlibel case against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy for allegedly claiming that the lawmaker misused government funds for the construction of a sports facility in his home province of Saranggani.
The case lodged before the Makati City Prosecutor's Office stemmed from a television and social media post by Quiboloy where he alleged that Pacquiao squandered funds for the Saranggani Sports Training Center.
The facility supposedly cost the government P3.5 billion but was left unfinished and eventually became a "white elephant," Quiboloy allegedly said.
The P3.5 billion in funds, however, was for the establishment of the Philippine Sports Training Center in Bataan, Pacquiao said, which he had nothing to do with.
Pacquiao said Quiboloy should pay P100 million in damages plus attorney's fees for "using his power and influence to spread fake news and false information.”
“He (Quiboloy) 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," his 13-page complaint read.
"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,” it added.
Pacquiao said Quiboloy made the accusations against him after his July 3 press conference showing proof of graft and corruption in the government, earning the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte. The 76-year-old leader is a known friend of Quiboloy.
The senator maintained that his statements of government corruption were based on documents and information he obtained from concerned citizens.
“His (Quiboloy) statements are far from hallow. They are criminal in nature and cannot go unpunished,” his complaint read.
Pacquiao is among those reportedly running for president in the 2022 elections. He was recently removed as PDP-Laban acting president by partymates pushing for Duterte's vice presidential bid.