Apollo Quiboloy

Fugitive preacher Quiboloy parties with rich and mighty in Davao

Herbie Gomez

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Fugitive preacher Quiboloy parties with rich and mighty in Davao

PARTY. Senatorial candidate Sal Panelo sings for President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter Kitty during her 18th birthday party in Davao City on Saturday, April 9. Looking on from a table are former president Gloria Arroyo and her husband Mike, doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy, and Duterte.

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Quiboloy sits near President Rodrigo Duterte at the main banquet table, and rubs elbows with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mike Arroyo, and the Villars

Controversial doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy rubbed elbows with the rich and mighty at a grand party thrown in time for the 18th birthday of President Rodrigo Duterte’s youngest child, Kitty, in Davao City on Saturday, April 9.

Quiboloy and two of his associates in the Davao-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ church (KOJC) are fugitives in the United States. They are wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a string of criminal cases that include sex trafficking and money laundering.

The US has yet to initiate proceedings for the extradition of the Davao-based preacher, who has been accused by the FBI and California-based federal prosecutors of being a sexual predator.

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But, on Saturday night, he went out to party like a VIP and joined the First Family in marking the coming-of-age of the youngest presidential daughter at the posh Dusit Thani Hotel.

There, Quiboloy rubbed elbows with former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former first gentleman Mike Arroyo, and the richest man in the country on Forbes’ list, property magnate and former Senate president Manny Villar and his senator-wife Cynthia.

Photos circulating on social media showed Quiboloy mingling with other party-goers, socializing, and striking poses with other guests for photographers. 

One photo showed him with a group that included the Arroyos and the Villars – he stood in the middle, sandwiched between the ex-president and Senator Cynthia.

He sat next to his close friend Duterte and the President’s partner and the debutante’s mother, Honeylet Avanceña, at the main banquet table.

The septuagenarian, who proclaims himself the “appointed son of God” and is seen with supernatural powers by his many followers, is living the life of an aristocrat with strong connections in government and the country’s seemingly untouchable ruling elite.

In November 2021, the self-styled preacher and eight of his associates were indicted in the US for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, sex trafficking of children, marriage fraud, fraud and misuse of visas, bulk cash smuggling, promotional money laundering, concealment money laundering, and international promotional money laundering.

He is scheduled to be tried in the US in 2023 along with his associates Helen Panilag, Guia Cabactulan, Marissa Duenas, Amanda Estopare, Felina Salinas, Teresita Dandan, Bettina Roces, and Maria de Leon.

De Leon has agreed to plead guilty and testify against Quiboloy’s group, a development that the preacher’s lawyers downplayed as something with little impact on their defense. Rappler.com

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.