Lies, all of them.
That’s what Duterte buddy Pastor Apollo Quiboloy has said of allegations that his United States-based church leaders had been engaged in immigration fraud, a crime American authorities say greatly benefited Quiboloy himself.
Quiboloy’s lawyer, Israelito Torreon, said in a press conference in Davao City yesterday that the charges brought against the U.S. leaders of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) were “nothing but a grand conspiracy of lies concocted by former members of the Kingdom who struck an alliance with forces with an ax to grind against Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy.”
“They are into this grand conspiracy in order to put to shame to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ,” he added. “We will tell them that we are ready, able and willing to parry all of these charges and we will show to the world that Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy is innocent of all the insinuations that they have hurled against our client.”
Since 2013, the three allegedly helped church members in the Philippines obtain U.S. visas by claiming that they would work as musicians for KOJC. Upon arrival in the U.S., however, the three would allegedly confiscate members’ passports and force them to beg for money for a fraudulent children’s charity. The victims told donors that the money would be used to benefit poor Filipino children, but in reality, the funds were used to finance Quiboloy’s lifestyle in Davao City.
The suspects’ victims alleged that they were abused if they failed to meet donation quotas and that they were paid little to nothing for their hard work.
According to Torreon, however, the three suspects “were just exercising their religious rights in spreading the good news to the whole world,” and are innocent of the charges.
Torreon also alleged that the charges had the intent to shame Quiboloy, whom he said was a magnet for controversy because of his “rising influence.”
But instead of feeling vengeful towards the complainants, the pastor — who once claimed to have stopped an earthquake in Mindanao — was saddened by the charges, Torreon said.
“Because he knows that the person behind this recent complaint were persons very close to him, and as a matter of fact, he was ready to forgive these persons if these persons decided to go back to the Kingdom,” Torreon said. “That hope was trashed because of the filing of this complaint recently. He knows these persons very well and he’s greatly saddened.”
Quiboloy wants other KOJC members to remain strong as they face this new controversy.
“He is sending a message to all his members not be downtrodden, not to be saddened, because we are ready, able, and willing to show the innocence of the administrators,” Torreon said.
KOJC has been at the center of controversy for years now, with Quiboloy being briefly detained in Hawaii last year after he was caught possessing guns and US$350,000 cash in his private plane. However, he was released by the authorities when a KOJC member claimed that the guns and cash were hers. She was ultimately charged with attempted bulk cash smuggling.
The self-proclaimed “son of God” has also been accused of rape in December by a former KOJC member whose college education he paid for. Quiboloy has denied the allegation.
This article, Quiboloy says arrest of US-based church leaders part of ‘grand conspiracy of lies’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!