Restorationist leader Apollo Quiboloy has just been issued with a sex trafficking charge by United States prosecutors for coercing young women and underage girls to have sex with him. But this is not the first time that Quiboloy has faced such controversies.
Who is Apollo Quiboloy?
Apollo Carreon Quiboloy is the founder of a Philippine-based restorationist church called Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC). He gave himself the title “Owner of the Universe” and “Appointed Son of God.”
We must know our house from corner to corner that it is cleansed, that it is sanctified, and that we have invited the Father Almighty’s spirit to be the only one dwelling there. pic.twitter.com/6hiDrQX1fg
— Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy (@PastorACQ) August 29, 2021
Quiboloy has played an active role in the political scene, compelling his followers to vote for certain politicians in the elections. In 2010, he endorsed Gilbert Teodoro for president (Teodoro placed fourth among eight candidates). During the 2016 national elections, Quiboloy endorsed current President Rodrigo Duterte. He is known as a longtime friend and spiritual advisor of Duterte.
2021: Sex trafficking charges
JUST IN: US prosecutors announced sex trafficking charges against Apollo Quiboloy, megachurch leader and President Rodrigo Duterte’s spiritual adviser, for allegedly coercing girls and young women to have sex with him under threats of “eternal damnation” | @laratyan pic.twitter.com/jzlzYmVFFI
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) November 18, 2021
The US Department of Justice issued a 74-page indictment that charges Quiboloy and other KOJC officials with running a sex-trafficking operation under threats of “eternal damnation” and physical abuse. According to the document, victims of this operation range from ages 12 to 25 and allegedly served as personal assistants or “pastorals” with duties such as doing housework at Quiboloy’s residence, giving him massages, and having sex with him — something they referred to as “night duty.”
This new charge is made on top of allegations made in 2020 against 3 KOJC officials based in Los Angeles for illegally bringing in fellow church members into the US using fraudulently obtained visas and for soliciting donations for a supposed children’s charity that was discovered to be a scam.
2020: Quiboloy vs. ABS-CBN
In late 2019, Quiboloy claimed that he could stop earthquakes in Mindanao by telling it to just stop. In response, comedian Vice Ganda jokingly challenged Quiboloy to put a stop to Ang Probinsyano, an ABS-CBN title known for being the country’s longest-running TV show. Quiboloy accepted and even claimed that even ABS-CBN itself would halt its operations within 4 months. By May 2020, Quiboloy’s claim did come true after the ABS-CBN franchise renewal was denied. Ang Probinsyano, however, is still going strong.
2019–2020: Rape, child abuse, and human trafficking cases
In 2020, a former member of KOJC sued Quiboloy and 5 other associates for rape, child abuse, and human trafficking. The complainant claimed that she was raped by Quiboloy when she was 17 years old in 2014. However, these cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
2018–2019: Cash smuggling allegations
In 2018, Quiboloy was detained in Hawaii when US federal agents allegedly found cash in the private plane owned by the church. The cash amounting to USD 350,000 (P15 million) was folded and stuffed inside socks in a suitcase. Another passenger Felina Salinas, a leader at KOJC’s Waipahu church and one of his loyal supporters, claimed ownership of the confiscated cash. She was subsequently called to court and released on bail. Quiboloy took a commercial flight back to the Philippines.
In 2019, a former member of the KOJC accused Quiboloy and Salinas of smuggling huge amounts of money from the US to the Philippines on two instances before the 2018 incident in Hawaii. However, the case against Salinas was dismissed in 2020 after Salinas said that she had only claimed ownership of the suitcase because it wasn’t supposed to be there, and didn’t know what was inside the suitcase. She pled guilty to giving a false statement and was given a one-month jail sentence.
2008: Massacre allegations
In 2008, Quiboloy was accused by the New People’s Army (NPA) of being the mastermind of the death of K’lata-Bagobo leader Datu Domingo Diarog and his family. The massacre was allegedly in retaliation for the Diarog’s refusal to sell part of their property to Quiboloy and KOJC. Quiboloy called these charges “totally false and baseless, if not ridiculous.”
2005: Brainwashing allegations
In 2005, Quiboloy was accused and sued by a mother for allegedly brainwashing her teen daughter and other underaged devotees. According to Erlinda Rillon, the mother of Arlene, a then-teenage recruit of KOJC, her daughter had refused to go back home after one of her assignments for KOJC. Another parent, Danilo Gay, came forward saying that his daughter had been similarly recruited and refused to go home. Quiboloy and his KOJC officials denied these accusations.
Netizens call for his punishment
After the announcement of the US prosecutors’ indictment, netizens express anger and disgust over Quiboloy’s actions. Many took to the internet to call for immediate punishment on Quiboloy and his associates.
When asked about President Duterte’s stance on the issue and whether Quiboloy will remain his spiritual adviser or not, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles simply said, “We’ll wait for President’s statement regarding that. Bago pa lang itong development na ito. Hayaan na lang natin na magsalita si Pangulo tungkol dyan.” Nograles also reiterated that the government “has been constant in its efforts against trafficking in general, especially sex trafficking.”
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