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US sanctions Apollo Quiboloy over ‘serious human rights abuse’

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
US sanctions Apollo Quiboloy over âserious human rights abuseâ
Apollo Quiboloy, head of "the Kingdom of Jesus Christ," a non-Catholic religious group and spiritual adviser of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, speaks during a press conference in Davao City in southern island of Mindanao on May 23, 2016.
AFP / Manman Dejeto

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:32 p.m.) — The United States’ Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on controversial preacher Apollo Quiboloy over what it called “serious human rights abuse” in connection with allegations that he raped and physically abused members of his religious group.

To mark International Human Rights Day and Anti-Corruption Day, the US Treasury designated Quiboloy pursuant to Executive Order No. 13818 which freezes US-based assets of people “responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse” among other reasons.

The executive order also blocks the entry of those designated into the US and prohibits donations for their benefit.

“For more than a decade, Apollo Carreon Quiboloy engaged in serious human rights abuse, including a pattern of systemic and pervasive rape of girls as young as 11 years old, as well as other physical abuse,” the US Treasury said Friday in a statement.

The US Treasury said Quiboloy “exploited his role” in his religious group — The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name — to subject his members to rape and other physical abuse and described these as “sacrifices required by the Bible and by God” for their salvation.

These are the same allegations contained in a federal indictment of Quiboloy and two other officials of his religious group for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy; and bulk cash smuggling.

Later Saturday, his religious group's lawyers said over Quiboloy's network SMNI that the allegations against the preacher are baseless and accused the US government of violating his right to due process.

"They've already convicted him!" said Hawaii-based lawyer Michael Green of the sanctions imposed on Quiboloy, a serial red-tagger which rights groups say also violates people's right to due process.

Manny Medrano, another lawyer based in Los Angeles said, "This press release, this document, frankly is outrageous, it’s simple grandstanding, it’s utter politics by the United States government."

Despite the vehement denial of any wrongdoing, Quiboloy's legal team said they will not be doing anything for now as US authorities supposedly could not seize assets without court proceedings.

Quiboloy’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, has questioned the timing of the release of the information on the indictment and suggested that this was to influence the 2022 elections.

With his indictment, Quiboloy has been wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation but the Philippines has yet to extradite him as a request from Washington is supposedly yet to come in.

Even if a request to extradite Quiboloy to the US for him to face these charges comes, a local Department of Justice official said this process may take years.

Quiboloy is a close friend and spiritual adviser of former President Rodrigo Duterte. He endorsed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the former chief executive’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, during the 2022 elections.

APOLLO QUIBOLOY

HUMAN RIGHTS

RAPE

SEX TRAFFICKING

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