Quiboloy’s Sarangani group denies harboring fugitive preacher

Rommel Rebollido

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Quiboloy’s Sarangani group denies harboring fugitive preacher

FROM A DISTANCE. A view from a roadside house in Kitbog, overlooking KOJC structures in the distance amid rolling terrain. Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

Controversial Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's group occupies an area in Sarangani that stretches 'as far as the eyes can see'

SARANGANI, Philippines – Followers of controversial Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy denied that the fugitive doomsday preacher has taken refuge within a vast ancestral land where the religious group has established a mountain community in Sarangani.

Quiboloy’s Sarangani group denies harboring fugitive preacher

“Si pastor ay wala dito sa Kitbog (The pastor is not here in Kitbog). We have no idea where he is. We have no knowledge about his personal whereabouts right now,” Kathleen Laurente, who introduced herself as legal representative of KOJC, told reporters in Kitbog, Malungon in Sarangani.

Kitbog, located in the Soccsksargen region, is among the places seen to be potential hideouts of Quiboloy, who is wanted for child abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, and human trafficking cases. It holds a special place in the controversial preacher’s heart – it is supposedly the launching pad for his work to establish the KOJC.

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Kitbog, a sitio in Poblacion, Malungon, is perched about a thousand feet up a mountain but can be reached from the town center via a 15-kilometer steep and rough road, zigzagging bumpy portions, and narrow concrete and limestone pavement along a mountainside.

A black helicopter, believed to be that of Quiboloy’s, hovered and landed in Kitbog on May 4, a Malungon resident said. However, no one could confirm whether Quiboloy was on board.

“Halos man kada adlaw madungog namo dunay helicopter moabot (Almost every day we can hear a helicopter arriving),” the villager said in a May interview..

Quiboloy’s group has a helipad in Kitbog.

‘Special place’

In a May 30 video posted by local broadcaster Bombo Radyo-General Santos on its Facebook page, Laurente strongly denied local reports that spread about Quiboloy likely hiding in Kitbog.

Laurente said, “Ginapangita nila si pastor, and even diri, wala gyud diri si pastor contrary to the news aired by Bombo Radyo. Dugay na wala makaanhi si pastor.”

(They have been looking for the pastor, even here [in Kitbog]. He is not here contrary to the news aired by Bombo Radyo. It’s been a long time since the pastor last visited.)

During the Bombo Radyo interview, she repeatedly said, “The pastor is innocent; the pastor is law-abiding.”

Laurente said Kitbog has always been special to Quiboloy because “it is where the pastor realized God’s calling,” and where his preaching ministry began in the 1970s.

Kitbog, according to Laurente, used to be a bandits’ lair until Quiboloy returned and started developing a community there.

Quiboloy’s plan for Kitbog

She said Quiboloy’s initiatives to develop the place have received support from the community, including Malungon Mayor Tessa Constantino and other local leaders such as a town councilor, Edmund Pangilan, and a community leader, Marcelo Pangilan.

Edmund, a datu (tribal chieftain), sits in the town council as indigenous peoples’ representative. The Pangilans own vast tracts of land in Kitbog.

Kitbog has gradually developed since 2011, with parcels of land developed and houses and other structures built.

In a KOJC video, Quiboloy said, “We will make a city out of Sitio Kitbog.”

Quiboloy, who styles himself as the “appointed son of God,” has said he planned to transform Kitbog into a pilgrimage destination, similar to the KOJC’s Prayer Mountain and Glory Mountain in Barangay Tamayong, Davao City.

Asked about how large the KOJC community in Kitbog is, Laurente said “as far as the eyes can see.”

On May 29, 2023, Kitbog’s Blaan community conferred on Quiboloy the title “Datu Tud Labun,” and “Pastor Quiboloy was presented with the stewardship of their ancestral domain,” KOJC said on its website.

Laurente said the area was developed “so that full-time workers like me can have a place to stay.”

Guns or no guns?

Despite the controversy surrounding Quiboloy and KOJC, Laurente said everything was going on as usual for the KOJC community in Kitbog.

She denied there are armed men in the KOJC community.

“If there are indeed armed men here, they could have appeared already,” said Laurente, adding that Quiboloy taught them that “the only weapon we have is the Bible.”

On May 25, one of Quiboloy’s close aides, Cresente Canada, the barangay chairman of Tamayong in Davao City and a co-accused in some of cases filed in Davao and Pasig, surrendered 21 guns to the authorities in Davao City.

On May 2, Quiboloy’s group surrendered five of his 19 firearms to authorities, after his gun permits were revoked. Police said Quiboloy’s 14 other firearms were already sold.

Laurente also said the KOJC was anticipating and preparing for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and police to come to Kitbog, “but we know they are law-abiding.”

Quiboloy continues to evade arrest orders issued by two regional trial courts, including another from the Senate.

In May, a police officer in Malungon said authorities cannot just go to Kitbog because “it is a private place and the nature of the events in that place is religious. Mahirap na mapasubo (It would be challenging).” –

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