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Quiboloy: No US meddling—or catch me if you can

By: Jane Bautista - Philippine Daily Inquirer | April 07,2024 - 04:33 PM


Apollo Quiboloy

MANILA, Philippines — Fugitive televangelist Apollo Quiboloy said on Saturday that he would not surrender unless the government made a written guarantee that American authorities would not meddle in the cases of child sexual abuse and trafficking filed against him.

Quiboloy said in a 30-minute recorded statement on the YouTube channel of his Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) that he was in hiding not because he was guilty of the charges but because he was “preserving” himself from the US authorities who might kidnap or assassinate him through “extraordinary rendition.”

“Unless you give me the guarantee I’m looking for, you won’t see me. Go ahead, manhunt me, I will stand up and not submit to your injustice. I will not submit to tyrannical rule,” Quiboloy said.

READ: Davao RTC issues arrest warrant for Quiboloy for sexual abuse

He said that the written assurance should come from President Marcos, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rommel Marbil, the chief of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and the director of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Davao, Pasig cases

On April 1, Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Presiding Judge Dante Baguio ordered law enforcers to implement the warrants issued against Quiboloy and his five other associates, noting that there was still no resolution on his motion for reconsideration in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The charges against Quiboloy are for violations of Republic Act No. 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

READ: Quiboloy on sex abuse allegations: ‘Pinag-aagawan ako’

The other respondents in the child abuse case are Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, Ingrid Canada and Sylvia Cemanes. They have all surrendered and are free on bail.Quiboloy, 73, and his coaccused are facing a separate case of qualified trafficking in persons, a nonbailable charge, in a Pasig City court.

Wanted by FBI, too

Besides the charges in Philippine courts, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s spiritual adviser is also on the most wanted list of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; sex trafficking of children; and bulk cash smuggling.

Quiboloy was indicted in California in November 2021 when Duterte was still president. The former president is now the administrator of the properties of Quiboloy’s sect, Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), which includes SMNI.

READ: Quiboloy told to face Senate probe on sex raps

Meanwhile, the FBI said that under Quiboloy’s alleged labor trafficking scheme, KOJC members were brought to the United States on “fraudulently obtained visas” and then forced to solicit donations for “a bogus charity” and money was used to finance church operations and the “lavish lifestyles of its leaders.”

In his statement, Quiboloy alleged that the US authorities did not want to extradite him because the legal process would take a long time. Instead, the United States wanted an extraordinary rendition, either through kidnapping or assassination, he said.

Quiboloy said that there was already a $2-million bounty on his head, a claim that was denied by the FBI, according to a GMA News report.

Friends with Duterte

“I am very inclined to think that assassination is really what will happen because it’s like they think that I am involved in politics here and I am a hindrance to their political plans,” he said, without elaborating.“It is not my fault that President Duterte is my friend. We have been friends since we were young, we have been friends since he was a prosecutor until now, that is not my fault,” he said.

READ: Hontiveros: Quiboloy’s refusal to face senate deepens abuse allegations

An arrest warrant was also issued against the self-proclaimed “appointed son of God” on March 19 by the Senate after he had ignored its summonses to appear in an inquiry into allegations he had repeatedly raped and physically abused several members of his sect.

Conspiracy claim

He claimed that the Marcos administration had conspired with the FBI and Central Intelligence Agency to deliver him to the Americans.

“Since then, I was under surveillance while I was still here in my country. In my own compound, there are drones in sight—day and night. These are the workings of the American authorities,” Quiboloy said.

He said the arrest warrants from the Senate and from the House of Representatives, which opened a separate investigation of alleged franchise violations by SMNI, were all “traps” by the government to catch him.‘Will stand my ground’

“The endgame is if I go there, they will surrender me to American authorities. It will still end up on the plan of extraordinary rendition,” he said.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, extraordinary rendition is the “transfer of a person suspected of being a terrorist or supporter of a terrorist organization, association, or group of persons to a foreign nation for imprisonment and interrogation on behalf of the transferring nation.”

Quiboloy said he would rather die in his own country than at the hands of the Americans.“I will be a martyr like Rizal, I will be a martyr like Bonifacio, I will stand my ground. It is much better, I repeat, that my blood be shed in my own country with me standing on my own feet, without me giving up my honor,” Quiboloy said.

Appeal from Bato

Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a former national police chief, on Saturday appealed to Quiboloy, his friend, to yield to the authorities and respect the arrest order issued against him by the Davao City court.

“I have no other advice for him but to face the case against him and let the wheels of justice roll,” Dela Rosa said in an interview with dwIZ.

“Face the music. He has no choice. The case against him has already been filed … (Quiboloy) cannot evade the long arm of the law,” he added.

Sen. JV Ejercito also urged Quiboloy to turn himself in.

“It’s difficult to be a fugitive. He should not be afraid to face his accusers and the case against him,” he said.

“I have nothing against Quiboloy. So, I’m just praying for him … He should be given a chance to be heard,” Ejercito added.

Dela Rosa dismissed speculations that Duterte was giving sanctuary to Quiboloy.

“You cannot expect a former president, who is a lawyer and a former prosecutor at that, to provide refuge (for Quiboloy),” he said.

“He knows that it’s a violation of the law. They should not make up stories (about the former president),” Dela Rosa added.

The NBI in the Davao region has formed its own team to hunt for Quiboloy. The Philippine National Police had earlier organized its own trackers.

4 KOJC sites searched

Moreover, NBI-11 Regional Director Archie Albao said Quiboloy’s five co-accused are expected to appear for arraignment within this month.

NBI and police teams have already scoured four properties owned by KOJC, three in Davao City and one in the Island Garden City of Samal. They were met by Quiboloy’s lawyers.

Albao noted that Quiboloy’s private plane and helicopter showed “no signs of activity” and there were no Bureau of Immigration records indicating he had left the country.

He also disclosed that the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms had already coordinated, mainly with the Davao regional police, to serve the Senate’s arrest warrant against Quiboloy. —WITH REPORTS FROM MARLON RAMOS, JOSELLE R. BADILLA AND RYAN ROSAURO

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TAGS: Apollo Quiboloy, Sexual abuse, warrant of arrest

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