Neither lost nor found | Inquirer Opinion
Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Neither lost nor found

Neither lost nor found

General Santos City—Unlike ordinary fugitives, embattled Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy has so many places to hide, including a sprawling property in a remote area in the highlands of Sitio Kitbog, Poblacion, Malungon, Sarangani province. The area in Kitbog is believed to be at least 200 hectares and is part of the ancestral domain of the Blaan, an indigenous people’s community in the province.

According to a Rappler report by General Santos City-based reporter Rommel Rebollido, the KOJC compound in Kitbog is significant in the life of Quiboloy. This secluded area in the highlands of Malungon was where Quiboloy started his mercurial rise to influence, power, and vast wealth as a preacher claiming to be the “appointed son of God.” He once said that it was in the highlands of Kitbog that he received the gift of preaching and the ability to launch his spiritual career among the indigenous Blaans.

One of the informants of reporter Rebollido recalled that Quiboloy first came to the Blaan heartland in Sarangani as an assistant of a certain Major Sanchez, an official of the defunct Presidential Assistant on National Minorities (Panamin). Whoever Sanchez was, it was not for a religious or spiritual agenda, but perhaps for enticing the Blaans to assimilate themselves to the “mainstream” Filipino lowland culture, as this was then the practice, as part of an overall plan to “integrate” the country’s minority populations to the Philippine body politic. Remember the Commission on National Integration?


I find this a disconcerting aspect of Quiboloy’s life as having been entangled with organizations like the Panamin, whose reputation was besmirched by the stories on the country’s alleged Stone Age people, the Tasaday of South Cotabato in the ’70s and ’80s, at the height of the dark years of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s martial law. (This story, including that of the role of businessperson and alleged playboy, Manuel Elizalde, is quite significant in the anthropological history of the Philippines, but this deserves a separate column.)

Quiboloy continues to elude police authorities to evade arrest. But because he is privileged to be who he is, and who he is connected with to preserve his privilege of continually evading the law, he has become somehow above the law. First, he lays down conditions for his surrender. Then he alleges that he will be killed once he is found, so he does not want that. Then he says there is a conspiracy between the United States government and President Marcos not only to deport him from the US but to do him harm. Third, he continues to be protected by former president Rodrigo Duterte, who is now the legal administrator of all his properties, all evidence of great wealth and opulence.

I wonder why the self-acclaimed son of God has become enormously rich after forging more than three or four decades of preaching the words of the King Jesus Christ, who he believes has been the one to anoint him as a “divine” son? In contrast, Jesus Christ, the real Son of God never led an opulent life—he chose to live among the poor, teaching the beatitudes to his disciples and followers; he even allowed himself to be tortured and ended up being nailed to the Cross.

Is Quiboloy using his religious sect to protect himself from the law? With all his properties from the 200 hectares highland refuge in Kitbog, Sarangani, to the sprawling prayer and glory mountain in Davao City, including expensive transportation units like the posh Bell helicopter and other multimillion SUVs, is he not required to pay taxes like ordinary Filipinos like you and me?


In Rebollido’s report on Quiboloy’s Sarangani mountain hideout, a helicopter arrives and lands almost daily within the compound where his residence is believed to be. But people who are part of his church there are tight-lipped on Quiboloy’s whereabouts, saying that they have never seen him in person conducting the religious services; he just sends video messages to them. When Rebollido asked questions about the house believed to be Quiboloy’s residence, locals claimed that it belonged to a Blaan leader in the community, who unfortunately could not be reached for any comment or an interview.

Is it because Quiboloy is so rich that he has bought almost all mountainous hideout places for him to “assimilate” within indigenous communities there to make him invisible to the police? Or is it because those who protect him are equally influential with these authorities to make them look the other way even if they found him?


Whatever the reason is, Quiboloy is truly a sui generis, a class of his own; one who can afford to multi-locate, either physically or through video messages. He is not lost, but he is not found either.


Comments to [email protected]

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.


© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.