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Allegations against Pastor Apollo Quiboloy


Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, a Filipino pastor and church leader of the Philippines-based Restorationist church called the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, has been involved in several controversies. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a US District Court in Santa Ana, California, in 2021. The charges against him include human rights abuses, sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling. These allegations span from 2002 to 2018, during which Quiboloy and his accomplices are accused of recruiting women and girls as young as 12. Despite these serious charges, Quiboloy has managed to evade trial so far.




WHAT THE NEW? 

Pastor Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), is under scrutiny due to the allegations leveled against him. These events provide insight into the reasons why the Department of Justice is pursuing charges against him and why arrest warrants have been issued against him once again in the United States.

March 7, 2024 it was reported that Central District of California Judge Terry Hatter Jr. ordered the reopening of arrest warrants against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and other accused individuals. The request to reopen the warrants was made by the United States Attorney Criminal Division, which is handling Quiboloy's case, including charges of "conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, coercion, sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and cash smuggling."
"Upon application of the government, and for good cause shown, the arrest warrants and returns in this case are unsealed," Hatter stated in his order dated March 1, 2024.
According to New York lawyer Lara Gregory, this may likely be the first step in initiating the extradition process by the US Department of Justice for Quiboloy.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) will initiate legal proceedings against Quiboloy.

 Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla made an announcement that Quiboloy will face charges of sexual child abuse and qualified human trafficking on Monday, March 4, 2024. This development follows the DoJ's decision to re-investigate the cases against Quiboloy that were previously dismissed by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao City in 2020.
During a press briefing, Remulla emphasized that the case had been pending for four years, with a year and a half under their close observation. It became evident to them that Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and his associates should be held accountable. Remulla further stated that there is "probable cause" to charge Quiboloy and his associates with sexual abuse of a minor under Section 5(b) of Republic Act 7610, as well as qualified human trafficking and other cases of child abuse.
To proceed with the legal action, the DoJ instructed the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao City to file charges for the violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law, which includes provisions on the sexual abuse of minors. The case of qualified human trafficking will be filed in Pasig City, as per Remulla's statement. Additionally, a hold departure order has been issued against Quiboloy to prevent him from leaving the country.


‘Cite for contempt’ 
     what is Cite for contempt’? 



In the meantime, Pastor Quiboloy faced a contempt citation from Senator Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros, who serves as the chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality. This occurred on Tuesday, March 5, as Quiboloy did not attend the panel's hearing despite being summoned through subpoenas. Hontiveros further appealed to Senate President Miguel Juan "Migz" Zubiri to issue an arrest order for Quiboloy in order to ensure his presence and participation in the hearing.


"In aid of legislation" mean exactly?

Senator Robinhood "Robin" Padilla strongly disagreed with Senator Hontiveros' decision to cite Quiboloy for contempt because of his absence at the Senate hearing. Hontiveros acknowledged Padilla's objection, stating that it was duly noted. She explained that Section 18 of the rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation allows the majority of committee members to reverse or modify the contempt order within seven days.

In separate press conferences, Senator Imee Marcos also voiced her objection and announced that she would vote against the contempt charge targeting Quiboloy. The Senator also raised concerns about the ongoing investigation against the leader of KOJC and suspected that the probe was conducted "in aid of legislation."


In 2021, Quiboloy made it onto the FBI's "Most Wanted" list for his alleged involvement in crimes such as rape, human trafficking, and smuggling. The FBI issued a warning on their website regarding their search for Quiboloy, who is known as the "Appointed Son of God" and serves as the head pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC). It was claimed that he participated in a labor trafficking scheme that facilitated the illegal entry of church members into the US by acquiring visas through illicit means. These church members were allegedly coerced into soliciting donations for a fake charity, with the funds being used to support the church's operations and the extravagant lifestyles of its leaders. Additionally, it was alleged that Quiboloy forced members into fake marriages or obtaining fraudulent student visas to continue soliciting funds in the US throughout the year. 

The FBI also stated that women were recruited to serve as personal assistants or "pastorals" to Quiboloy, performing various tasks including cooking, cleaning, giving massages, and engaging in sexual activities with him, which they referred to as "night duty." As a result of these serious allegations, Quiboloy was indicted by a federal grand jury at the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana. The charges against him include conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, fraud, coercion, sex trafficking of minors, and bulk cash smuggling. A federal warrant for his arrest was issued on November 10, 2021.

Moving on to the Senate hearing, in January 2024, the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality of the Senate of the Philippines, led by Senator Hontiveros, conducted a hearing. The purpose of the hearing was to assess the effectiveness of existing laws against human trafficking involving religious organizations. Quiboloy's legal representative, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, stated that the pastor would not attend the Senate hearing, arguing that the Senate lacked the authority to determine a person's guilt or innocence. During the hearing held on January 23, 2024, five former members of KOJC provided testimonies against Quiboloy.

 Two Ukrainian nationals, using the aliases Sofia and Nina, revealed through a recorded video that they had experienced sexual abuse by Quiboloy after being asked if they were willing to sacrifice their bodies. Alias Amanda claimed that she was also violated by Quiboloy in September 2014, which led her to leave the church. She faced difficulties obtaining her transcript of records from Jose Maria College, which is owned by KOJC. Alias Jerome, another former member, testified that he was instructed to sell and solicit donations even when he was underage, and all the collected funds had to be given to the church. He mentioned that non-compliance with these demands resulted in punishments such as hitting their heads against the wall until they bled or applying chili to their eyes and private parts. Arlene Stone, a former coordinator of KOJC who now resides in the US, claimed that she was assigned to instruct members to sell their properties and give the proceeds to the church. Those without properties were required to borrow money. She stated that she had to exert pressure on the members to meet the group's quota in preparation for the second coming of the Lord.


 However, she realized that Quiboloy's prophecies did not come true on the specified dates. Her belief in Quiboloy and KOJC further diminished when she experienced a car accident while renting a vehicle for her companions who were soliciting funds in the US, and she was held responsible for the payment. Other accusations against Quiboloy included providing fake scholarships to KJC members and forcing them to beg for the church. It was also alleged that employees of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), which is operated by KOJC, did not receive their salaries and mandatory benefits. Quiboloy's lawyer denied these allegations, stating that SMNI employees received honorariums. According to the latest report, four senators, namely Robin Padilla, Imee Marcos, Cynthia Villar, and Bong Go, have signed a manifestation opposing Quiboloy's arrest in the Senate. Eight signatures are needed on the manifestation to prevent the Senate from issuing an arrest warrant for Quiboloy. There is additional information from Sheryll Alhambra.




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