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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Several women detailed how they were allegedly abused by doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy in a Senate probe on Tuesday, January 23, with lawmakers expecting more to come forward.
“Pinagsamantalahan ako ni Pastor Quiboloy (Pastor Quiboloy raped me),” said an alleged victim identified only as “Amanda.”
She told the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality that she was only 17 years old in 2014 when Quiboloy allegedly first forced himself on her. She said she had been indoctrinated not to ask questions because that was akin to questioning God.
Amanda had served as one of the Filipino pastorals of Davao-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), a group of allegedly exploited female members who run errands for Quiboloy under the guise of serving God.
She was told she needed to sanctify herself in preparation for the “special privilege” of “touching” their religious leader.
“I was about to ask why but then I remembered that I was taught never to ask questions… I was trembling in fear and just looked at the ceiling while holding back my tears… I had thought that it was God’s will,” Amanda said in Filipino.
The committee, chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros, presented separate video recordings of two Ukrainian women, identified only as “Sofia” and “Nina,” who gave damning testimonies about how Quiboloy allegedly sexually abused them.
Two other former Quiboloy followers, Minnesota-based Arlene Caminong-Stone and a man identified only as “Jerome,” told the committee how the preacher allegedly inflicted physical harm on them for trivial reasons, as their actions were perceived as breaches of KOJC rules.
Stone is one of three former KOJC members interviewed by Rappler in late 2021, shedding light on the alleged abuses within Quiboloy’s church. The others are Kentucky-based Faith Killion and Reynita Fernandez, who works in Singapore.
They were among the first known former Quiboloy followers to go public, providing detailed insights into the inner workings of the KOJC.
In one of the 2021 Rappler interviews, Stone alleged that some of the pastorals were forced into engaging in sexual relations with Quiboloy. She also claimed that the controversial preacher maintained a pool of “spiritual wives.” According to her, this was part of Quiboloy’s purported Solomonic ministry, inspired by the biblical account of King Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 mistresses.
An American, Stephen Wood, who served as a resource person, told the committee how he and his wife provided shelter in the United States to several former KOJC workers from Ukraine who were allegedly pursued and threatened by Quiboloy’s group while they were in Estonia.
Wood said there were also victims of abuse by Quiboloy’s group in other countries like Brazil.
Pastorals from Ukraine
The narratives of the women corroborated the allegations reported by Rappler in 2021.
Sofia, one of the Ukrainians, revealed that her ordeal began when she was asked if she was willing to sacrifice everything, including her body, for God.
“I was scared; I was crying,” said Sofia in one of the video recordings, recounting how she was taken to a room to give Quiboloy a massage while he lay face down.
Sofia alleged that Quiboloy eventually turned towards her, undressed, and proceeded to abuse her.
She told the committee that she started questioning the abuse when she discovered younger church workers, one as young as 12 years old, who Quiboloy had turned into pastorals like her. She eventually severed her ties with the group.
Another Ukrainian, Nina, recounted that she accompanied her mother and siblings to KOJC services in Ukraine in 2012.
A year later, she was brought to Davao City, where she served as one of Quiboloy’s pastorals.
Like Sofia, Nina said she was conditioned to believe she needed to surrender everything to God.
She also received strict instructions not to disclose her scheduled night shifts because what was happening was supposedly part of a “sacred ministry.”
“Every time I went there, I prayed that he was already sleeping,” she said.
The alleged abuse continued until 2021, the year she decided to leave Quiboloy’s church for good and return home.
More victims will come forward, according to Hontiveros, who is already planning the next hearing.
The lawmaker earlier ordered a subpoena for Quiboloy, who was the spiritual adviser of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
“Sa hearing na isa-subpoena kayo, maglalabas kami ng iba pang mga testigo (In the hearing where you will be subpoenaed, we will present other witnesses),” said Hontiveros, addressing Quiboloy, who was a no-show even after two written invitations.
Quiboloy and several of his church associates were indicted in the US for various crimes, including sex trafficking of children, marriage fraud, and money laundering. He and two of his associates are in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list. – Rappler.com