Megachurch pastor wanted by FBI for sex trafficking issues conditions for surrender

Christian Post [Washington DC]

April 8, 2024

By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post contributor

A controversial Filipino megachurch Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, sought by the U.S. for child sex trafficking, has set forth conditions for his surrender in the Philippines, demanding assurances against extradition, amid charges against him in both countries. The 73-year-old pastor is accused of asking women to “sacrifice” their bodies to the “appointed son of god” and raping them.

The U.S. Justice Department, in 2021, accused Quiboloy, the leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church in the Philippines, of sex trafficking girls and women aged 12 to 25 as personal assistants, or “pastorals,” who were allegedly coerced into sexual relations with him. Concurrently, the Philippine justice department has charged him with sexual abuse and other related offenses, including qualified human trafficking and child abuse acts.

Quiboloy’s demands for surrender include a written assurance from the Philippine government, ensuring no U.S. interference or extraordinary rendition, AFP reported Sunday. He expressed his preference to face legal proceedings in his homeland rather than be subjected to American jurisdiction, citing national sovereignty in his legal battle.

“Unless you give me the guarantee I’m looking for, you won’t see me. Go ahead and manhunt me,” Quiboloy was quoted as saying on a YouTube video. “I’d rather die at the hands of the Filipinos, for my blood to spill here in my country, than to die at the hands of the American authorities who are overseas, in their country.”

The pastor’s legal troubles in the Philippines intensified with the change in administration. Quiboloy claimed that the current government under President Ferdinand Marcos has collaborated with U.S. agencies like the FBI and CIA to facilitate his extradition.

Testimonies from alleged victims have surfaced, detailing the extent of the abuse within Quiboloy’s church.

During a senate probe, three women, under pseudonyms, recounted years of sexual abuse by Quiboloy. Their testimonies painted a grim picture of manipulation and exploitation, with Quiboloy allegedly using his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual acts, under the guise of divine mandate.

South China Morning Post reported that the pastor had been accused of repeatedly raping women and telling them to “sacrifice” their bodies to the “appointed son of god.” He reportedly had about 200 “pastorals,” many of them Ukrainian girls and women.

The church, claiming millions of followers globally, has been under scrutiny, with its leader’s actions casting a shadow over its operations. Quiboloy’s indictment in the U.S. and the subsequent charges in the Philippines have brought to light the alleged systemic abuse and exploitation within the church’s ranks.

Quiboloy’s ties with political figures, including former President Rodrigo Duterte, have also come under scrutiny.

Quiboloy’s past is marred with controversies, including a 2018 incident where he was arrested in Honolulu, Hawaii, for smuggling large sums of money and weapons.

Quiboloy, who is a former member of the United Pentecostal Church, founded the Restorationism church in 1985 after he said he received a calling from God. According to Asia Times, he claims God came to his mother in the form of a cloud after he was born, and declared, “That’s my son.” Since then he has grown wealthy.

He argued in a 2010 interview with ABC News that every member of his kingdom shared his wealth and is welcome to stay at his mansion. He further claimed that God revealed to him in 1983 that he should own a jet and said everyone should accept what they get from God in life, even if it is poverty.