Friday, January 31, 2020

FBI case is latest legal issue faced by 'Son of God' Quiboloy and followers

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested three administrators of Apollo Quiboloy’s Kingdom of Jesus Christ church on allegations of committing immigration fraud.

US news outlets reported federal agents arrested top KOJC official Guia Cabactulan, along with Marissa Duenas in Van Nuys, Los Angeles Wednesday morning (Thursday in Manila). The FBI also arrested Amanda Estopare in Virginia.

The FBI criminal complaint said that Quiboloy’s church administrators submitted false visa application to allow KOJC members to come to US under false pretenses.

But once the church members arrived, KOJC leaders took their passports and forced them to work long hours begging for and soliciting donations across the country for charity Children’s Joy Foundation USA. Those who failed to meet the quota were allegedly physically and psychologically abused.

KOJC administrators also forced the workers who were good at soliciting money into “sham” marriages so they could stay in US. “KOJC and CJF advertise that the solicited money will be used to aid Filipino children; however, little to no money solicited appears to benefit impoverished or in-need children. Instead, the money appears to directly finance KOJC operations, as directed by certain individuals associated with KOJC, and the lavish lifestyle of its leaders,” the FBI complaint read. This is not the first time that a controversy hounded Quiboloy and the members of his Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Rape case
Quiboloy—who proclaims himself as the “Appointed Son of God”—is a senior pastor of KOJC, a church he founded in 1985. His church claims to have six million followers all over the world.

In December 2019, the long-time friend of President Rodrigo Duterte was accused of rape by a former follower, who also claimed that she had experienced forced labor when she was a member of the church. The victim also accused him and four others of qualified trafficking in persons and child abuse. Quiboloy’s camp denied the allegations, dismissing them as part of a “grand conspiracy” against the church leader.

"We will show you that this is not true. Because Quiboloy is true to his mission to propagate love, the love for Jesus and we are here to cause the dismissal of the criminal cases filed to him," Quiboloy's lawyer is quoted as saying in a December 21, 2019 report by state-run Philippine News Agency. ‘Child sex ring’
A former member of KOJC accused the evangelist of running a “child sex ring,” Honolulu-based Hawaii News Now reported in October 2018.

Kristina Angeles went to Hawaii in 2014 on a religious visa to work for Quiboloy’s KOJC. She was allegedly one of the minors forced to have sex with Quiboloy.

She earlier said she was forced to raise money by selling “manapua and Krispy Kreme” doughnuts for hours and claimed church members were punished if they did not sell enough, according to the news outlet. Angeles herself was facing trial in Hawaii and was accused of sexual assault by female member of the church.

Quiboloy dismissed the “child sex ring” allegation as “a pack of lies.”

Brief detention in Hawaii
In February 2018, Quiboloy was detained in Hawaii after gun parts and stash of undeclared cash were discovered inside his private jet.

Hawaii News Now reported that federal agents found $350,000 in cash and gun parts inside the private plane bound for the Philippines. Federal law requires anyone taking more than $10,000 out of the country to declare it. But the FBI only arrested Felina Salinas, a loyal supporter of Quiboloy, who claimed the suitcase with the cash was hers.

Quiboloy was detained for a day and later left on a commercial flight for the Philippines.

His lawyer insisted that the sect leader did not commit any crime in the US. Killing of tribe leader
In 2008, Quiboloy was tagged in the killing of tribal leader Dominador Diarog in Davao City.

Diarog’s wife said men identified with Quiboloy had been threatening tribe leader to sell their two-hectare piece of property adjacent to Quiboloy’s prayer mountain, Davao News reported.

The church leader published a statement in various Davao newspapers denying involvement in the killing.