Duterte spiritual adviser Quiboloy calls US sanctions ‘outrageous’

Jeoffrey Maitem
Davao, Philippines
Duterte spiritual adviser Quiboloy calls US sanctions ‘outrageous’ Controversial Christian pastor Apollo Quiboloy (left) enjoys a snack with ex-President Rodrigo Duterte (center) and Senator Bong Go at an event in Davao, Philippines, Dec. 8, 2022.
[Photo courtesy Facebook of Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy]

The camp of controversial Philippine pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a close adviser to ex-president Rodrigo Duterte, has branded the decision of the U.S. Department of Treasury to sanction him on allegations of “serious human rights abuse” as “outrageous.”

Quiboloy is the founder and executive pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name (KJC) charismatic church, which claims to have six million followers worldwide. Duterte has frequently been featured on his Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

“It’s outrageous. It’s simple grandstanding,” Manny Medrano, a Los Angeles-based lawyer for Quiboloy, said Saturday during an online news conference. “...They are mere allegations. It’s not true. The pastor has not been convicted of anything.”

Another Quiboloy counsel, Michael Green, hit back at the sanctions while stressing the “presumption of innocence.”

“They convicted him. It’s hard for me to believe that I can see something where human rights…the peoples’ rights to be heard…the presumption of innocence… no longer exist. That’s not the American way,” he stressed.

The U.S. Department of Treasury announced sanctions against Quiboloy and a slew of individuals and entities on Dec. 9 to mark International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day, vowing to “promote accountability for human rights abusers and corrupt actors across the world.”

Quiboloy used his position in the sect he founded to rape women and girls, the Treasury statement alleged.

“For more than a decade, Apollo Carreon Quiboloy (Quiboloy) engaged in serious human rights abuse, including a pattern of systemic and pervasive rape of girls as young as 11 years old, as well as other physical abuse,” it said.

Young women “were directed to have ‘night duty,’ which required them to have sexual intercourse with Quiboloy on a determined schedule. Quiboloy kept pastorals in various countries, including the Philippines and the United States,” the Treasury statement said.

The U.S. Treasury Department reiterated that the self-proclaimed “appointed son of God” was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list for sex trafficking, fraud and coercion, bulk cash smuggling, and more.

Neither Duterte nor his successor and ally, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has commented on the latest development. Marcos is currently traveling for the ASEAN-EU summit being held in Brussels this week. BenarNews attempted to reach the former president but did not get a reply.

The Southeast Asian country is predominantly Catholic, but there are many variations of the Christian faith here. Evangelical groups and Christian sects play a role in daily life, with politicians often courting religious leaders to get block votes during elections.

Then-President Duterte said in March he would stand by Quiboloy as his “friend.”

The Philippine Department of Justice has said in the past that it was willing to extradite Quiboloy if Washington sent a formal request.

“None,” Philippine Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told reporters in Manila on Monday, when asked if the Department of Justice had received such a request. “This will take time. They still have to file the necessary cases. They just went ahead in freezing the assets. So we’ll wait and see.”

U.S. Treasury sanctions freeze the assets of a targeted entity or individual in the United States and require domestic companies doing business with those named to notify the U.S. government and cease “all transactions” with them.

In Manila, House Deputy Minority leader Rep. France Castro on Sunday called the sanction a “good development,” adding that it should prompt a local probe of the pastor.

“This is a good development and we hope that this would serve as a signal to local authorities to also look into the illegal activities of Pastor Quiboloy here,” Castro said in a statement.

In November 2021, a U.S. grand jury charged Quiboloy on suspicion of orchestrating a sex-trafficking operation that coerced girls as young as 12 to have sex with him or risk “eternal damnation.”

No charges have been brought against the jet-setting pastor in the Philippines, to date.

Dennis Jay Santos in Davao City, southern Philippines, contributed to this report.


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