Apollo Quiboloy

US imposes sanctions on Quiboloy for ‘serious human rights abuse’

Jairo Bolledo
US imposes sanctions on Quiboloy for ‘serious human rights abuse’

Manman Dejeto

(1st UPDATE) Apollo Quiboloy, who is on the FBI's most wanted list, is facing sanctions for alleged rape, human trafficking, exploitation of power, and physical abuse

MANILA, Philippines – The United States has imposed sanctions on a “diverse array” of more than 40 individuals and entities across nine countries – including Philippine self-styled pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who is on the US’ most wanted list – in connection to corruption and human rights abuses.

The US Department of the Treasury and the US Department of State announced the move in separate statements on Friday, December 9, on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day and on the eve of International Human Rights Day observed on Saturday, December 10.

“On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day and on the eve of International Human Rights Day, the United States is taking the following actions to promote accountability for corruption and human rights abuse around the world,” the US State Department said.

US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson noted that “corrupt actors and human rights abusers both rely on deficiencies in the international financial system to perpetrate their activities.”

“Over the past year, Treasury has made combatting corruption and serious human rights abuse a top priority, including through the use of financial sanctions and addressing vulnerabilities in the US and international financial systems. By exposing the egregious behavior of these actors, we can help disrupt their activities, dismantle their networks, and starve them of resources,” Nelson said.

The US government said Quiboloy is facing sanctions under Executive Order (EO) No. 13818 for “his connection to serious human rights abuse.” (READ: FAST FACTS: Who is Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the ‘Appointed Son of God’?)

“Pursuant to EO 13818, the Department of the Treasury is designating Quiboloy for his connection to serious human rights abuse. As the founder of the Philippines-based church, Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name (KOJC), Quiboloy took advantage of his leadership role within the KOJC to engage in a pattern of systemic and pervasive rape and other physical abuse involving minors as young as 11 years old from 2006 to at least 2020,” the State Department said.

The US government meted out the following sanctions on Quiboloy:

  • All properties and interests that are in the US or in possession of US persons are blocked and must be referred to the US’ treasury department.
  • Any entities directly or indirectly owned, 50% or more are blocked.
  • All transactions of US persons or within/transiting in the US that involve any of Quiboloy’s property or interests in property are prohibited, unless authorized.
  • Making or receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for Quiboloy’s benefit are also prohibited.

EO No. 13818, signed in 2017, builds upon and implements the US’ Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, which provide specific sanctions to individuals for their alleged human rights violations or other offenses. The EO is broader compared to the Magnitsky Act because it targets individuals determined “to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse.”

The Magnitsky Act is also limited because it only authorizes sanctions against foreign persons, while EO No. 13818 refers “more broadly to any person.”

US imposes sanctions on Quiboloy for ‘serious human rights abuse’
Quiboloy’s offenses

In defending the sanctions imposed on Quiboloy, the US treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) cited his alleged crimes.

Rape

According to the US government, Quiboloy was involved in a “pattern of systemic and pervasive” rape of young girls – as young as 11 years old.

Sex trafficking

Quiboloy was also involved in sex trafficking young women within the KOJC. The young girls, called “pastorals,” were said to be selected to work as personal assistants for the fugitive, and directed to have “night duty.”

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Being on “night duty” allegedly meant that the women would be required to have sexual intercourse with Quiboloy on a determined schedule, according to the US government. The women were kept in various countries like the Philippines and the US.

Exploitation of power

Quiboloy allgedly exploited his role in his church to abuse his victims, “describing these acts as sacrifices required by the Bible and by God for the victims’ salvation,” the US government said. Quiboloy allegedly told the victims to “offer your body as a living sacrifice.”

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One victim said she lost track of the times she was forced to have a sexual intercourse with Quiboloy because she was forced to do it at least once a week when she was a minor, and “in every country to which they traveled.” Another victim said she was forced to have sexual intercourse with the fugitive for at least a thousand times.

Physical abuse

Quiboloy also allegedly physically abused the pastorals and some members of their church. Reports alleged that the fugitive personally beat victims and “knew where to hit them” so there would be no visible evidence.

In November 2021, the US indicted Quiboloy for the alleged crimes. He is now on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List.

Quiboloy is a close friend and “spiritual adviser” of former president Rodrigo Duterte. In the last elections, he supported the tandem of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte.

Other countries

The OFAC also imposed sanctions on the following individuals and entities in eight other countries.

Sanctioned for significant corruption are the following:

El Salvador: Presidential Legal Secretary Conan Tonathiu Castro Ramirez and labor minister Oscar Rolando Castro

Guatemala: Former president of Congress Allan Estuardo Rodriguez Reyes, Congressman Jorge Estuardo Vargas Morales, and former minister of energy and mines Luis Alfonso Chang Navarro

Haiti: Romel Bell, former director general of the General Administration of Customs, Senator Rony Celestin

Mali: Former president of the National Assembly’s Defense Committee Karim Keita,

Ukraine: Pavlo Vovk, Chairman of the Kyiv District Administrative Court

Sanctioned for human rights abuses and violations are the following:

Azerbaijan: Kerim Heydar Alimardanov, an official in the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime within the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs, known as the “Bandotdel”

Burundi: Former Burundian official Alain Guillaume Bunyoni

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Border Guard General Bureau

Guinea: Former president Alpha Conde

Indonesia: Godlief Mangkak Timbul Silaen, former police chief of the then-East Timor region and commander of Indonesia’s Security Control Command

Iran: Ali Akbar Javidian, Kermanshah Province Commander of the Law Enforcement Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Allah Karim Azizi, Rezaee Shah Prison warden; Ebrahim Kouchakzaei, LEF commander in Chabahar; Mohammed Reza Ostad, Bushehr Prison warden; and 13 current and former Iranian government officials “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the abuse, detention or killing of peaceful protestors or inhibiting their rights to freedom of expression or peaceful assembly, including through censorship via a country-wide internet shutdown in Iran”

China: Wu Yingjie (Wu), Party Secretary of Tibetan Autonomous Region; Zhang Hongbo, director of the Tibetan Public Security Bureau; Tang Yong, former deputy director of the Chongqing Area Prisons in the PRC; Li Zhenyu; and Zhuo Xinrong

Peru: José Carlos Bertarelli Rodríguez, former commander of Peru’s Ayacucho Intelligence Detachment

The Russian Federation: Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation; Lyudmila Nikolaevna Zaitseva; Ochur-Suge Terimovich Mongush; Oleg Yuryevich Nesterov, Russian Federation Presidential Administration official; Yevgeniy Radionovich Kim, Russian Federation Presidential Administration official
Marina Konstantinovna Sereda; and Aleksey Valentinovich Muratov, official of the so-called DNR

Sri Lanka: Prabath Bulathwatte (Bulathwatte), former head of a clandestine Sri Lankan Army platoon, known as the “Tripoli Platoon”

Vietnam: Vo Thanh Dung (Vo), former warrant officer at the Lagi Police Station

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.