A PASIG City regional trial court has ordered the arrest of wanted televangelist Apollo C. Quiboloy and his alleged accomplices for qualified human trafficking, denying his legal team’s motion to suspend legal proceedings against him.

In a three-page order dated April 11 and sent to reporters via Viber by the office of Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, the tribunal said there was no basis to suspend issuing an arrest warrant against them.

“This court, after personally examining the information and its supporting documents, finds probable cause for the arrest of all the accused. Let warrants of arrest be issued against them,” Rainelda H. Estacio-Montesa, acting presiding-judge of the trial court, said in the order.

A Davao City trial court issued an arrest order against Mr. Quiboloy earlier this month as it found probable cause to do so.

“These arrest warrants herald the efficiency of our criminal justice system, echoing the strong resolve of the State and our society to hold accountable individuals who transgress the Rule of Law, regardless of their social status or wealth,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said in a statement.

He noted that the charges against Mr. Quiboloy are non-bailable under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. His co-accused last week surrendered while some had posted bail.

The evangelist earlier claimed that the United States government plans on having him assassinated instead of seeking his extradition.

Mr. Quiboloy, who was former president Rodrigo R. Duterte’s spiritual adviser, had been indicted in a California district court on Nov. 10, 2021, and a federal warrant had been issued for his arrest.

The Philippine Senate earlier issued an arrest order against him for failing to attend its probe on human trafficking and sexual abuse. John Victor D. Ordoñez