An awkward Robinhood

By Herbert Vego

WE were in high school when we first read about Robin Hood, a popular bow-and-arrow folk hero who robbed the rich to help the poor peasants in 14th-century England.

Today, we have a Robinhood Padilla in the Philippine Senate, who seems to be helping the rich “appointed Son of God” – Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the religious group Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) – who is suspected of raping women, money-laundering, sex-trafficking and fraud here and in the United States. Some of his “victims” have testified before the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family and Gender Equality chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Quiboloy could be held in contempt if he continues to ignore the Senate subpoena to personally air his side in the hearings.

He is wanted by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for human rights violations, sexual abuse of minors and a labor trafficking scheme that brought church members to the U.S. using fraudulent visas in order to gather donations for a bogus charity organization.

It baffles the imagination that the Filipino Robinhood, a Muslim, would be so sympathetic to Quiboloy.

Aside from Padilla, three other senators within the 15-member committee – Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Cynthia Villar, and Imee Marcos – have signed an objection letter seeking to reverse the Senate panel’s decision to hold Quiboloy in contempt for his “no show”.

But four of them are only half of the majority of eight needed to overturn Hontiveros’ contempt ruling. This could force hesitant Senate President Migz Zubiri to sign the contempt ruling today.

What binds Zubiri and the four other aforementioned senators together is their “loyalty” to former President Rodrigo Duterte, who has revealed himself as the administrator of the vast properties of the KOJC, which also operates the franchise-suspended radio-TV network, Sonshine Media Network, Inc. (SMNI).

But why Digong, who is not a KOJC member?  On the contrary, he has repeatedly called God “stupid” in his speeches.

Oh, well, there have been insinuations that Duterte is the “business partner” of Quiboloy.



IS there hope for clean elections in 2025 with the emergence of the South Korean firm Miru Systems Co. Ltd. (Miru Systems) as the automated election contractor, replacing Smartmatic?

Miru, a South Korean firm, recently inked a P17.99-billion contract with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for its services and lease of 110,000 counting machines.

Would Miru be an improvement over Smartmatic, which has earned notoriety for manipulating election returns?

No less than President Bongbong Marcos, after losing to Leni Robredo for vice-president in 2016, called Smartmatic “a cheating machine”.

No wonder, Smartmatic “made up” with Marcos beating Robredo for president in 2022. He bagged 31-million-plus votes against Leni’s 15-million-plus. Naumpawan eh!

But that has only fueled worse public suspicions against Smartmatic. A group called Truth & Transparency Trio (TNTrio) — composed of former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) secretary Eliseo Rio, retired Colonel Leonardo Odoño, and former Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines president Franklin Ysaac – filed a petition asking the Comelec to ban Smartmatic henceforth because  of “serious and material irregularities” in the transmission and reception of election results.

Going back to the new player Miru Systems, there have been published reports accusing it of rigging elections in Congo, Iraq, South Korea, and Argentina.

Moreover, the Comelec’s refusal to heed public clamor for “hybrid ballot counting” in election 2025 has raised fears that it would be another hocus-pocus favorable to “paying candidates”.

The hybrid version would discourage automated cheating by allowing manual counting to confirm online results.



WE heard former Valderrama, Antique mayor Ray Roquero assuring Iloilo-based broadcaster Henry Lumawag that he is sure he would run for Antique governor in tandem with re-electionist congressman Agapito Antonio (AA) Legarda, brother of Sen. Loren Legarda.

He sounded so sure that we now doubt the Maritess who had told us a different story.

Maritess’ story is that a woman named Liza had prevailed upon Sen. Loren Legarda to  ask AA to team up with Paolo Javier instead. As every Antiqueno knows, Paolo had been governor and congressman before—just like his dad Exequiel “Boy Ex” Javier, w/ho had been Liza’s college professor kuno.

But according to a lady very close to Loren, “She would not consider a political alignment with the Javiers.”

That should be music to Ray’s ears.