Where on earth is Quiboloy? | Inquirer Opinion

Where on earth is Quiboloy?

/ 05:18 AM April 19, 2024

If the Philippine National Police is finding it difficult to locate controversial televangelist Apollo Quiboloy to serve him several arrest warrants, it’s definitely not because of divine circumstances despite the self-proclaimed appointed son of God’s many claims to celestial powers.

Although Quiboloy has denied being in hiding during an audio recording released on April 6, authorities failed to find him in his vast properties in Davao City.

The leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) is facing charges in the Davao court for sexual molestation and child abuse, and in the regional court of Pasig City for a nonbailable case of human trafficking. The Senate has meanwhile ordered his arrest for his repeated refusal to appear before its committee hearings on similar sexual abuse and trafficking allegations. Quiboloy is also wanted in the United States for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, the sex trafficking of children, conspiracy and bulk cash smuggling.

Duterte as administrator


As if to anticipate the damages that may be levied on him for his alleged crimes, Quiboloy has assigned close friend and former president Rodrigo Duterte as administrator of KOJC properties, a responsibility to “oversee the management” and “preserve the kingdom [so it would] not go to waste,” as Duterte himself defines it.

Given what’s at stake, Duterte has predictably denied hiding or protecting Quiboloy in his house. “I must profess my ignorance,” Duterte said, only to dangle the vague information that the fugitive pastor may be in his sanctuary in Barangay Tamayong in Davao City, a large area “with many houses, and each house needing a different search warrant,” he added.

The former president, who claims being in constant communication with Quiboloy, is apparently banking on the support of the police that he had cunningly cultivated during his term with generous salary hikes, bonuses, and perks, including the assurance that he had their back should they get in trouble for the notorious killings in his drug war. Then there is the shock and awe factor owing to his fearsome reputation as former longtime Davao mayor with a vast network of followers, including law enforcers and thugs willing to do his bidding at all cost.

Willful indifference


Are the police returning such favors and turning a blind eye, or not searching hard enough? Are they, like previous prosecutors in Davao, playing it safe and sitting on the cases filed against the pastor, hoping that with time, they’d be forgotten or ignored?

Such willful indifference prompted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to have Quiboloy’s Davao cases moved to a Pasig City court where they’re bound to get the attention they deserve. The DOJ, too, has placed a witness/complainant under its protection, citing credible threats to her safety. This is a wise move given how flagrantly Quiboloy’s main patron still flaunts his power. That Duterte could claim that he is in constant communication with the pastor and yet deny knowing his whereabouts is a brazen demonstration of how he thinks he could toy with the law and get away with it, just like he did during his term.


Bargaining chip

Such show of defiance seems to have rubbed off on Quiboloy’s lawyer, Israelito Torreon, who had the gall to declare that his client had been deprived of his right to speedy trial: “It took the DOJ four years and three months to undertake the preliminary investigation; hence, the resulting resolution finding probable cause against the respondents as well as the information and warrants of arrest are void,” Quiboloy’s counsel said, seemingly oblivious to how his logic was being sabotaged by his client being in hiding.

Finding Quiboloy and making him accountable to the law is the latest challenge to the Marcos administration, whose definition of justice has been put to doubt with its continued refusal to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Duterte’s alleged crimes against humanity, for the thousands of lives lost in his drug war. Come to think of it, the ICC probe could be a bargaining chip to squeeze out Quiboloy’s hideout from the former president who could be arrested for aiding and abetting a fugitive.

Gun permits

The police and other law enforcement authorities must also exert every effort to locate the pastor, using their hefty intelligence funds and network of informants whom they have so readily harnessed against enemies of the state, real or imagined, through the government’s anti-communist task force. The police can start by revoking the gun permits of Quiboloy’s army of protectors who might be itching to do battle to defend their leader.

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Authorities should regard this manhunt as an opportunity to show that no one is above the law, and that crimes and impunity would be dealt with severely. “Let justice be done though the heavens fall” seems aptly applicable in this case.

TAGS: Apollo Quiboloy, opinion

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