Lawyer course

Apollo Quiboloy now in Davao City, not hiding – lawyer

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy (Photo from his Facebook account)

MANILA, Philippines — Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who was officially declared last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a suspected sex trafficker wanted in the United States, has not gone into hiding and remains in Davao City.

During a virtual briefing on Sunday, one of Quiboloy’s attorneys, Ferdinand Topacio, claimed the charges against Quiboloy were part of an “orchestrated effort” to destroy him and “indirectly, the current administration… “.

According to Topacio, the FBI’s release of a wanted poster was intended to humiliate the leader and founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) religious sect, name above name.

“There is no need to ask the public for information on Pastor Quiboloy’s whereabouts because [he] is not hidden. [One] must hide under [a] rock not knowing where the pastor is,” he said, adding that Quiboloy was just in Davao City and could still be seen live on TV.

But he dismissed suggestions that Quiboloy should voluntarily stand trial in the United States and defend himself, stressing that they would wait for the extradition process to take its course.

“Everyone knows there is an extradition process. I think [the release of the poster] is simply designed to humiliate and embarrass the pastor. It is a very despicable act,” Topacio said.

He also called the release of the FBI’s wanted notice untimely since it occurred just before the start of the campaign period, noting that the indictment by the U.S. federal grand jury and the issuance of a warrant for his client’s arrest took place in November.

Topacio claimed there was an intention to tarnish the name of President Rodrigo Duterte who had always been identified as Quiboloy’s close friend.

American interference

When asked why the United States would do this given that Duterte was not a candidate in the upcoming polls, he replied that his daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, was.

“We must all be in abject denial to say that the United States has not interfered with our elections for as long as we can remember,” Topacio said.

He cited the book “Portrait of a Cold Warrior,” written by Joseph Smith, a retired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, which chronicled the US government’s Cold War operations. According to Topacio, a chapter titled “We Make Presidents,” showed how the US government, through the CIA, had interfered in elections, especially in Southeast Asia.

Michael Jay Green, general counsel for Quiboloy based in Honolulu, Hawaii, said “the kingdom will not be tarnished by this piece of paper”, referring to the FBI wanted notice. “With the pastor’s blessing, we will respond to this garbage.”

Green said Quiboloy’s accusers told the grand jury lies that the prosecutor believed and resulted in the filing of briefs.

He explained that under US court procedures, an indictment could be issued without the respondent presenting his case.

“We used to say in Hawaii, you can charge a coconut. On the mainland, they say you can charge a ham sandwich. You’re not here to oppose what people say “, did he declare.

Green identified Shishir Bhandari, a Nepalese who once served as the director of Apollo Air, the kingdom’s aircraft fleet, as the one behind the cases against Quiboloy.

Topacio claimed it was easy to get an indictment in the United States, especially with the help of “polluted sources.” He said the lawsuits against Quiboloy were filed by former KOJC members who either got away with funds or violated several rules. After finding out they were under investigation, they fled overseas and were now doing everything they could to destroy Quiboloy and KOJC.

Topacio’s advice to the media

Topacio warned the media to be careful and avoid becoming “accomplices [in this] obviously orchestrated effort to destroy Pastor Quiboloy and indirectly, the current administration for political purposes.

Quiboloy, according to the FBI’s wanted notice, was at risk of arrest for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and child sex trafficking; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy and bulk cash smuggling.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said they would study the legal basis for asking the court to issue a pending departure order (HDO) or a precautionary pending departure order (PHDO) on Quiboloy, or to make him the subject of an Immigration Watch Bulletin (ILBO) order.

A court-issued HDO and PHDO at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) prevent persons who are the subject of a criminal case or suspected of a crime from leaving the country. An ILBO, issued by the BI, alerts its staff to immediately report to the Department of Justice (DOJ) any attempt by a person under investigation to leave the country.

“We will study the legal basis for such action in the absence of any official request or communication from the United States,” Guevarra said.

In the House of Representatives, an opposition lawmaker urged the DOJ to issue an HDO against Quiboloy, who had referred to himself as the anointed son of God, in the absence of an extradition request from the US government.

big challenge

“We again call on the DOJ to do whatever is necessary to facilitate justice for all of Pastor Quiboloy’s victims, even if these actions would go against Duterte’s wishes,” Gabriela’s rep said. , Arlene Brosas, in a press release.

She advised Quiboloy to stop “playing the victim” and turn himself in to the authorities.

“It is a big challenge for the Duterte regime and even for the Bongbong-Sara tandem not to protect Quiboloy, especially since he supports the administration tandem,” the lawmaker said. Quiboloy previously expressed support for Sara Duterte and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who were running for vice president and president, respectively.

Brosas also criticized Quiboloy for calling himself the “modern Joseph”.

“Joseph was oppressed even though he had no sin. Pastor Quiboloy has caused damage, abuse, is a wanted sex trafficker and is implicated in numerous cases of land grabbing in Mindanao. There is a big difference,” she said.

“For someone who is accused of molesting minors and trafficking victims in the United States, Quiboloy must be really thick-faced to compare himself to biblical characters. He should just surrender,” a- she added.

At a news conference on Sunday, vice-presidential candidate Senator Francis Pangilinan said the country’s legal procedures must be followed regarding Quiboloy’s possible extradition.

“We have legal proceedings. The extradition is there. So we have to follow our legal procedures,” he said.

—WITH REPORTS BY NESTOR CORRALES AND DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN

RELATED STORIES

Apollo Quiboloy on FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list

All women pastors: the rollercoaster of the Quiboloy clique

No U.S. government extradition request yet for Quiboloy, DOJ says

Read more

Don’t miss the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.