Apollo Quiboloy

US has not yet requested to extradite Quiboloy

Lian Buan

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US has not yet requested to extradite Quiboloy

PREACHER. Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church and a friend of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Quiboloy's Facebook page

It has been two years since a grand jury in California indicted Apollo Quiboloy for different charges including sexual trafficking

MANILA, Philippines – The United States government has still not filed any request to extradite doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy who is wanted there for sex trafficking and financial fraud.

Rappler confirmed on Thursday, December 14, with sources privy to the information, that the US has not made the request two years since a grand jury indictment in California. Under the US-Philippines extradition treaty, a request shall go through the diplomatic channel.

US has not yet requested to extradite Quiboloy

The Philippines’ Department of Justice likewise said no extradition request has reached them. “None yet,” spokesperson Mico Clavano told reporters on Wednesday, December 13, when asked.

Quiboloy is the close spiritual adviser of former president Rodrigo Duterte. He endorsed the candidacies of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte. The media company he owns, SMNI, was the favored news outlet of Marcos and Duterte during the campaign.

SMNI is now under fire at the House of Representatives after Speaker Martin Romualdez, Marcos’ cousin, complained that its hosts misreported on his travel expenses. Sara Duterte has defended the SMNI hosts.

Asked for comment why the US has not filed an extradition request yet, the US embassy in Manila through Press Attaché Kanishka Gangopadhyay said: “I will have to defer you to the US Department of Justice on this question, as it is an ongoing law enforcement matter.”

The US justice department has not responded to our inquiry as of writing, but when asked the same question in February 2022, Thom Mrozek, the spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office in the District of California, told Rappler: “As a matter of policy, the US Department of Justice generally does not comment on extradition-related matters until a defendant is in the United States.”

Process of extradition

The treaty also allows the US to request for a provisional arrest. This request, if the US sees it valid, can be made directly to the Philippines’ Department of Justice.

“Experience has shown that the ability to use direct channels in emergency situations can be crucial when a fugitive is poised to flee a jurisdiction,” says the treaty.

What opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros is targeting now is an immigration lookout to monitor if Quiboloy will leave the country. Hontiveros said she intends to set a hearing date at the Senate to investigate claims of sexual trafficking.

The Philippines’ justice department has not yet commented as of Friday, December 15, on Hontiveros’ request. An immigration lookout bulletin order or ILBO does not prohibit a subject from leaving the country.

A parallel investigation at the Senate will not prohibit extradition to the US. The treaty makes clear that extradition is only prohibited when the person has been acquitted or convicted (not just investigated), and it should be of the same crime, and not just merely same facts.

Once a request for extradition has been made, Philippine authorities will determine if it’s an extraditable offense. One standard is if the offense committed in the US is also an offense under Philippine law with a prison term of at least one year.

Quiboloy was indicted by a grand jury of 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 of money laundering; and, international promotional money laundering. Quiboloy’s trial in California has been moved to March 2024.

The Philippines’ justice department has confirmed that it is still resolving complaints against Quiboloy. Two complaints – which were initially dismissed against Quiboloy were for libel; and rape and qualified trafficking of persons – are on review as per procedure. Quiboloy has also filed a petition for review on the dismissal of a libel complaint that he himself filed.

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.