DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The camp of televangelist Apollo Quiboloy claimed it was somehow expecting something adverse, like the arrest of Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC) members in the United States, would happen.
Quiboloy’s spokesman, Israelito Torreon, said on Thursday, January 30, that they knew this as early as September 2019.
In a televised press conference here, Torreon said former KJC members had supplied false information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This led to the arrest of 3 administrators of KJC’s charity arm, The Children’s Joy Foundation, by US federal agents on Wednesday, January 29.
They were arrested for allegedly committing immigration fraud.
Quiboloy is the founder of KJC, which also goes by the name Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name. He is a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, even during the latter’s term as mayor of this city.
Meanwhile, in a press briefing in Malacañang Thursday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, if the arrest of the KJC members was a legitimate law enforcement operation, the Philippines cannot complain.
“You must remember that if a crime is committed in any country, then the laws of that country will have to be followed,” Panelo said. “We have to respect them (their laws) the way we ask them to respect ours.”
US news outlets identified those arrested in a raid on the Van Nuys, Los Angeles, office of KJC as Guia Cabactulan and Marissa Duenas. A third KJC member, Amanda Estopare, was arrested in Virginia.
An FBI spokesman said the 3 were arrested allegedly for immigration fraud. However, authorities were also considering including human trafficking charges against them.
Torreon said the allegation of human trafficking against the 3 KJC officials in the US was part of a grand conspiracy to pin down Quiboloy.
“What we are facing is actually a criminal complaint filed by the FBI before the district court of California. We are ready, able, and willing to show and prove the innocence of the administrators of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We will show to you that this is a nothing but a grand conspiracy of lies concocted by former members of the kingdom who struck an alliance with forces who have an axe to grind against Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy. They are into this grand conspiracy to put to shame PACQ,” he said.
Torreon said that there are more than two former KJC members who have been trying to put Quiboloy down on trumped-up charges.
He said the former members are making these allegation after Quiboloy ordered financial audits on some of his officials.
Torreon said what was saddening to Quiboloy was that these persons – whom he did not name – were “close to him.”
A report by ABS-CBN News quoted Laura Eimillier of the FBI as saying: The 3 arrested “are forcing these individuals, in some cases, to work all day, solicit funds, for what they are saying for impoverished children in the Philippines. In reality, we believe the money is going to fund the lavish lifestyles of the leaders of this scheme.”
The fresh allegation against Quiboloy came after a former member accused him of rape and trafficking.
In December, Blenda Portugal accused Quiboloy and 5 others – Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Pauline Canada, Ingrid Canada, and Sylvia Cemañes – of sexual abuse and forced labor.
In 2019, the FBI agents in Hawaii also started investigating Quiboloy’s church for alleged human trafficking. – Rappler.com
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