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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Nothing ‘legally wrong’ in Rody as KOJC administrator — lawyer

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There is nothing ‘legally wrong’ in the appointment of former President Rodrigo Duterte as administrator of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) properties.

In a phone interview Sunday, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio told Manila Standard that Duterte is now a “private person, a lawyer, and a member of the Bar in good standing.”

On the other hand, he said KOJC is a juridical entity and a corporation sole, owned and occupied by a single person who appointed the former President, Topacio said.

He said almost all religious groups are corporation soles—or an individual person who represents an official position which has a single separate legal entity—just like KOJC.

Duterte’s appointment came after a California judge last week moved to unseal the arrest warrants against Quiboloy and his co-accused charged with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, coercion, sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and cash smuggling.

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Quiboloy has publicly acknowledged his deep friendship with Duterte since his days as Davao City mayor, likening him to an older brother.

KOJC’s counsel Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes said Duterte’s appointment will ensure continuous operations of the group, which she described as “beset on all sides by challenges.”

Quiboloy had earlier admitted having gone into hiding because of an alleged plot by the US government to “eliminate” him.

“I don’t see a problem in (Duterte) managing the properties of Quiboloy, who is a very close friend of the former President,” explained Topacio.

But in the event that Duterte runs for public office and wins, Topacio said the former president will have to give up his post at the KOJC.

“Unless circumstances change, I don’t see something legally wrong,morally and legally unethical (with Duterte’s appointment. This is not against public policy,” he said.

Fuentes said part of Duterte’s duties as administrator include preserving, retaining, maintaining, and managing the properties of KOJC in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Quiboloy should now also answer to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who claimed to have been forced to donate their salaries to the KOJC.

During a Senate hearing chaired by Hontiveros, Reynita Fernandez, anOFW based in Singapore, accused KOJC of pressuring her and otherFilipino worker-members of the religious group of giving 90 percent of their salaries to Quiboloy.

Hontiveros has cited the KOJC leader in contempt and asked the Senate to order his arrest.

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