MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Rodrigo Duterte admitted receiving valuable gifts from his good friend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy throughout the course of their “30-year” friendship, he said on Monday, May 2.
Quiboloy, the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, has given him 3 properties in Woodridge Park, Ma-a, Davao City, he said, as guest at Quiboloy’s late-night television show “Give Us This Day.”
“Noong mayor ako, binili ni Pastor, tatlong [property]…Sabi niya, ‘bilhan ko mga anak mo kasi pag nadisgrasya ka sa trabaho mo namatay ka’…Binigay na ang bahay sa Woodridge. Hindi ko nga tinanggap eh. And it’s there. Puntahan niyo ang Woodridge, sino ang bumili? It’s Pastor who paid,” said Duterte.
(When I was mayor, Pastor bought 3 properties. He said, I’ll buy for your children in case you die from doing your job. He gave me a house in Woodridge. I didn’t accept it. But it’s there. Go to Woodridge, who bought it? It’s Pastor who paid.)
In Duterte’s 2015 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), he declared 3 lots in Ma-a, supposedly acquired from 1997 to 1998. Could this be the lots from Quiboloy? (READ: Quiboloy predicts landslide win for Duterte)
The wealthy pastor also bequeathed to Duterte a lot in Royal Pines, in Matina, Davao City. A lot in Matina is declared in his 2015 SALN and previous SALNs.
Cars from Quiboloy
Quiboloy also apparently gave Duterte a Nissan Safari and Ford Expedition years ago. Duterte tried to return the Expedition but said his daughter, Sara, wanted to keep it.
“Binalik ko. Tapos ito si Inday nagwala kasi gusto niya. Eh saan ka magkuha ng pang-gasolina? Para kang buang diyan. (I returned it. Then Inday went crazy because she wanted it. Where will you get money for gas? You’re like a fool),” said Duterte.
Three years after this story was published, Sara denied she ever went "crazy" over a vehicle given to her father by Quiboloy.
"I categorically deny the 2016 Rappler story quoting President Rodrigo Duterte as saying that I 'went crazy' because I wanted the car supposedly given to him by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy. This incident never happened," she said in a statement sent to Rappler on June 17, 2019.
"I never saw an Expedition vehicle allegedly given by Pastor Quiboloy. PRRD may have referred to another person with Inday as a name or he incorrectly remembered events."
She said Duterte was likely making a "joke" to the media when he made the claim, which she says media should have verified.
The Davao City mayor described Quiboloy as so generous that anytime he would buy something, he was sure to buy two of it so he could give one to Duterte.
“Everytime si Pastor magbili, dalawa yan. Ang isa sa akin diyan, sigurado (Every time Pastor buys, he gets two. One is mine, for sure),” he said.
In the United States, Duterte said Quiboloy even offered to pay for the mayor’s appointment with a famous neurosurgeon, Dr Martin Cooper, in order for something to be done about his perpetually sweaty hands.
Duterte apparently will continue accepting favors from Quiboloy if he is elected president. The pastor has offered his private jet for Duterte’s use.
“Sabi ko, I’ll just use it kasi kung manalo ako, dito ako matulog sa Davao araw-araw. Service na ‘yan kasi ‘yan ang contribution ni Pastor sa ating gobyerno,” he said. (I said, I’ll use it if I win. I’ll sleep in Davao every day. That’s a service and a contribution of Pastor to the government.)
Is there anything wrong with Duterte accepting such lavish gifts from a wealthy religious leader like Quiboloy?
The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices law states that it is illegal for public officers to receive gifts from a person who has contracts or transactions with the government or needs a permit or other document from the government if the public officer has the power to intervene or facilitate the granting of these contracts or documents.
Quiboloy is also a businessman, owning, among other things, a garden resort, school, and media outfit.
Donations 'in the name of God'
Duterte wrapped up his account of Quiboloy’s generosity by saying, “Maraming binigay si Pastor sa akin hindi ko lang sabihin. Pero hindi ‘yung bilyon." (Pastor has given me many things, I just can’t tell you what. But not billions.)
He said Quiboloy’s intentions are honest.
“He donates it in the name of God, para makatrabaho ako, para wala akong takot (so I can work, so I have no fear),” he said.
As mayor of Davao City, Duterte has the power to intervene in all processes of the city government, including the issuance of business permits and the like.
Interest in Duterte's net worth and possessions has intensified ever since Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused him of not declaring P227 million in deposits and P2.4 billion worth of transactions.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.