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Manhunt on for Quiboloy

Emmanuel Tupas, Diana Lhyd Suelto - The Philippine Star
Manhunt on for Quiboloy
Preacher Apollo Quiboloy.
Facebook / Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy

Davao court orders arrest

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Apollo Quiboloy is now a “fugitive from justice” after evading arrest warrants served by a joint team of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“He may not have been arrested, but he will be considered as a fugitive from justice based on the warrant of arrest issued by the court,” NBI Davao region chief Arcelito Albao told “Storycon” on One News yesterday.

While the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) ministry was nowhere to be found, Albao said the joint team did not have a hard time entering Quiboloy’s compound at the “prayer mountain” in Davao.

Quiboloy is still in the country as his cars, helicopters and planes are still in the area, Albao told Storycon. He said Quiboloy’s personnel told the joint team that they had not seen the pastor for several days.

Teams have been deployed to hunt down Quiboloy and five of his associates who were ordered arrested by a Davao court on charges of child and sexual abuse, Albao said.

Ordered arrested together with Quiboloy were Jackielyn Roy and Sylvia Cemanes as well as Ingrid, Cresente and Paulene, all surnamed Canada.

Cresente and Paulene Canada along with Cemanes were preparing to post P80,000 bail following their arrest at the Jose Maria College campus and the Samal and Tamayong properties of the KOJC.

Albao told The STAR that Roy and Ingrid were reportedly hiding with Quiboloy as they are his personal assistants.

Brig, Gen. Alden Delvo, Davao region police director, said Cresente surrendered to the NBI while Pauline and Cemanes sent surrender feelers.

Judge Dante Baguio of the Davao Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 12 ordered Quiboloy and five others arrested on charges of violation of Republic Act (RA) 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Law.

Baguio issued another warrant against the respondents on charges of child and sexual abuse as provided under the same law.

In a two-page order, the Davao RTC said that as early as March 14, it found probable cause to issue a warrant against Quiboloy.

However, Quiboloy’s counsel filed a motion to defer or suspend proceedings and asked the court to hold the issuance of an arrest order.

The court said it granted Quiboloy’s motion as his camp filed a motion questioning a resolution issued by the Department of Justice, which indicted the religious leader and five others of child abuse.

Warrants served

Delvo said the warrants were given to Kathleen Kaye Laurente, one of Quiboloy’s lawyers.

He said he urged Laurente to advise Quiboloy to surrender.

Delvo said the cases against Quiboloy and his co-accused are bailable: P200,000 for the sexual abuse and P80,000 for child abuse.

Delvo said Quiboloy has to be physically present for the booking procedures.

Aware that Quiboloy has security escorts of his own, Delvo urged followers of the religious leader not to resort to violence and let justice take its course.

In issuing the arrest warrants, the Davao RTC said “more than reasonable time” had since lapsed, yet it has not received any resolution on the motion for reconsideration filed by the camp of Quiboloy.

“The court, mindful of the equally situated rights of both the prosecution and defense – which may include, among others, the speedy disposition and trial of cases, either of which or both – said right imposes an imperative task that this court is indebted to fulfill,” the court said.

“As what was earlier determined upon judicious examination and perusal of information where it found probable cause, let the warrants of arrest already issued be implemented immediately,” it added.

The respondents are also facing charges of qualified human trafficking as provided under Section 4(a) of RA 9208 before a Pasig court, which has yet to issue a warrant of arrest against them.

Quiboloy is also wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for alleged involvement in a labor trafficking scheme that brought church members to the US through fraudulently obtained visas.

He reportedly forced church members to solicit donations for a bogus charity. The donations were reportedly used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyles of church leaders.

A California judge ordered the unsealing of the arrest warrants against Quiboloy and his co-accused.

Among the cases filed against Quiboloy before a US court involved conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, coercion, sex trafficking of children and cash smuggling.

Happy days numbered

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Quiboloy’s happy days are numbered, now that the Davao RTC issued a warrant for his arrest.

Hontiveros said that aside from the Davao court, almost all institutions in the Philippines are moving to hold Quiboloy accountable.

“The PNP in Davao has expressed willingness to work with other law enforcement agencies in arresting the Kingdom of Jesus Christ leader. I am confident that this will be fulfilled and Quiboloy will be caught,” Hontiveros said.

“Once he is arrested, the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality will expect his appearance in our next hearing,” she added.

She called on Quiboloy to stop acting, saying he has done a lot to skirt the law. “He should cooperate and properly answer the accusations hurled against him. If he had done no wrong, there’s no need for him to hide,” Hontiveros said.

She thanked Quiboloy’s alleged victims for fighting back to obtain justice.

Meanwhile, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro commended the issuance of an arrest order against Quiboloy.

“It is good that the original Joint Resolution dated 29 June 2020 issued by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Davao City, which dismissed the complaints for rape, qualified human trafficking and child abuse, has been overturned by the Department of Justice,” Castro said.

She said this means the DOJ is finally “seeing the alleged crimes of Quiboloy in a new light.”

“We hope it would act swiftly to deliver justice to Quiboloy’s victims,” she added.

“We stand in solidarity with the victims and advocates seeking justice in this case. It is imperative that the legal process moves swiftly to ensure that those responsible for heinous crimes are held accountable and that justice is served,” she maintained.– Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sheila Crisostomo, Daphne Galvez

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