US agency seeks Rody pal, 2 others; DOJ: FBI ‘knows how to find him’
Pastor Apollo Quiboloy—founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church and spiritual adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte—has been placed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on its most-wanted list, the American agency announced Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Quiboloy is wanted on allegations of “conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; conspiracy; (and) bulk cash smuggling.”
This was according to the advisory of the FBI, which issued “Wanted” posters for the religious leader and suspected accomplices Teresita Tolibas Dandan and Helen Panilag.
Quiboloy was indicted by a federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Central District of California, Santa Ana, California, along with other Quiboloy…members of his church for sex trafficking in the US last year.
“On November 10, 2021, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest,” the FBI website said.
Dr. Marlon Rosete, president of Sonshine Media Network International, the broadcast entity owned by Quiboloy, said Quiboloy’s legal team will hold a press conference Sunday to address the issue.
Malacanang had yet to issue a statement as of press time, but Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday said the FBI “knows” where Quiboloy is and knows what to do to “acquire” the controversial religious leader.
“I’m sure the FBI knows where Pastor Quiboloy is. I’m also sure that the FBI knows the proper legal procedure to enable the US justice system to acquire jurisdiction over Pastor Quiboloy’s person,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
In November last year, the Palace said President Duterte “will execute the laws accordingly” amid the issues hounding his spiritual adviser.
But in December 2019, Malacañang distanced itself from the rape complaint filed against Quiboloy, a decades-long friend of the President.
Salvador Panelo, who was Duterte’s spokesman and chief legal counsel at the time, said the Palace would not intrude into the case against the self-proclaimed “Owner of the Universe” and “Appointed Son of God.”
A former member of Quiboloy’s sect accused the pastor and five others of raping her in 2014 when she was just 17 years old. The church leader’s camp, however, has denied the accusations.
But the FBI said: “Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, the founder of a Philippines-based church, is wanted for his alleged participation in a labor trafficking scheme that brought church members to the United States, via fraudulently obtained visas, and forced the members to solicit donations for a bogus charity, donations that actually were used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyles of its leaders.”
“Furthermore, it is alleged that females were recruited to work as personal assistants, or ‘pastorals,’ for Quiboloy and that victims prepared his meals, cleaned his residences, gave him massages and were required to have sex with Quiboloy in what the pastorals called ‘night duty’.”
The FBI said people with information on Quiboloy could contact its local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
Reached for comment, the US Justice Department said: “We cannot comment on extradition proceedings, including whether they have been
According to the local National Bureau of Investigation, it has not received a “formal communication” with the FBI on the matter.
According to the FBI, Dandan was the alleged “international administrator” who was one of the top overseers of Quiboloy’s church and its bogus charity operations in the US.
Panilag allegedly oversaw the collection of financial data from church operations globally and was indicted for conspiracy.
The 74-page US indictment said that victims involved in Quiboloy’s alleged sex trafficking operation threatened victims as young as 12
with “eternal damnation” and physical abuse.
But the DOJ said the US may have to wait for Quiboloy’s possible extradition while a local case against him is pending in Manila.
In November, the church leader said that his continued “persecution” would lead to diseases “worse than Omicron.”
When asked if the US government has communicated with the Philippine government or has requested Quiboloy’s extradition so he can face trial before the US courts, Guevarra said: “We have not received any official communication from the US government.”
“Extradition cannot be done motu proprio (on one’s own initiative), especially if the subject is our own citizen. Any communication will be coursed through diplomatic channels.”
According to Guevarra, the process is governed by the Philippines-US extradition treaty.
“The US State Department makes the extradition request. Our DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) checks the sufficiency of the request; if sufficient, the DFA endorses it to the DOJ (Department of Justice),” he said.
“We (DOJ) then file a petition for extradition with the proper RTC (regional trial court) on behalf of the US government. The rest of our judicial process, including appeals, follows. In case the issuance of a warrant of arrest becomes necessary, the subject may post bail for his provisional liberty,” he said.
“Extradition is supposed to be a summary proceeding; we’re not supposed to be trying the US criminal charges here. But we have had
cases where the process reached the Supreme Court, but were ultimately implemented,” Guevarra added.
On the issuance of a preventive hold departure order or hold departure order or immigration lookout bulletin order against Quiboloy, Guevarra said the Department of Justice will “study the legal basis for such an action in the absence of any official request or communication from the US side.”