Feb 7, 2022

Quiboloy sect links wanted poster to elections

Franco Jose C. Baroña
The Manila Times
February 7, 2022

THE lawyer of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KoJC) has linked the release of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted poster of KoJC executive pastor Apollo Quiboloy to the national elections in May.

A United States federal grand jury indicted Quiboloy on sex trafficking and other charges on Nov. 10, 2021 and a warrant for his arrest was issued on the same day.

Quiboloy is widely acknowledged to be the longtime spiritual adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press conference Sunday, Ferdinand Topacio questioned the delay in publishing the FBI poster.

"Common sense dictates that if you have a warrant (of arrest) you immediately put up a wanted poster," said Topacio. "Why did they wait until now when the campaign for the national elections would start before they released this (wanted) poster. That is one thing that we noticed about that," he added in a mix of English and Filipino.

Topacio, who joined the KoJC legal team only last December, said such a poster is publicized only when a person is actually a fugitive from justice and is in hiding.

"Everyone knows where Pastor Quiboloy is," he said. "You must be hiding under a rock here in this country not to know where he is." Quiboloy is not within US jurisdiction "so why was the poster released in America considering that he is here and everyone knows that there is still an extradition process if he really needs to go to America," Topacio added.

He said he is not "fomenting any conspiracy theories here, but we all have to be in a state of abject denial to say that the United States has not been interfering with our elections since as far as we can remember." He cited the book Portrait of a Cold Warrior by Joseph Smith where it describes how the US Central Intelligence Agency allegedly meddled in the political affairs of countries in South East Asia, including the Philippines.

At the same time, Topacio noted that it is only now that "trumped up" charges are surfacing against Quiboloy.

"And you will wonder why when Duterte was not yet president, you did not hear such accusations against Quiboloy," he said. "It was only in 2016 when trumped up charges began to be filed against Quiboloy."

Topacio said the only logical reason is that someone is using the "closeness" of Quiboloy with Duterte to indirectly tarnish the President's reputation.

"I think this is designed to humiliate and to embarrass (Quiboloy) and the members of the Kingdom," he declared. "This is obviously an orchestrated effort to destroy Quiboloy and indirectly the present administration for political effect." The FBI poster notes that Quiboloy is wanted for "conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy; bulk cash smuggling." The agency released the poster nearly three months after Quiboloy and his senior aides were indicted by a US federal grand jury in California for allegedly forcing girls and young women to have sex with him to save them from "eternal damnation." The FBI said Quiboloy is also involved in a "labor trafficking scheme" that brought members of his church to the US on "fraudulently obtained visas" and forced to solicit donations for a bogus charity.

It said the money collected was spent for the operations of KoJC and for the "lavish lifestyles of its leaders." "Members who proved successful at soliciting for the church allegedly were forced to enter into sham marriages or obtain fraudulent student visas to continue soliciting in the United States year-round," the FBI said.

Separate wanted posters were issued for Teresita Dandan and Helen Panilag, both top officials of the religious sect that Quiboloy founded in 1985.


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