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Pastor Apollo Quiboloy to face sexual abuse charges

by Agence France Presse

The Philippines said Monday it would file sexual abuse charges against a Filipino pastor who is wanted in the US for child sex trafficking.

Apollo Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “Son of God” and ally of former president Rodrigo Duterte, is the founder of Philippines-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ church.

The US Justice Department charged Quiboloy in 2021 with sex-trafficking of girls and women aged 12 to 25 to work as personal assistants, or “pastorals”, who were allegedly required to have sex with him.

On Monday, Philippine Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla said the victim in the latest case was 17 at the time the crimes were committed more than a decade ago, in 2011.

“We studied this case thoroughly and it was proven that Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and his colleagues have to answer for this,” Remulla said.

“We all know it is difficult to file charges in a place where the accused are in positions of power,” he added.

AFP has sought comment from Quiboloy’s church.

Remulla said the sexual abuse charge, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, would be filed at a lower court in the southern city of Davao, where Quiboloy’s church is based.

He and five other defendants are to be charged separately at a Manila court for qualified human trafficking and other acts of child abuse.

Remulla said he would ask the Supreme Court to also move the sexual abuse trial to Manila.

Quiboloy — who is at least 73 years old, according to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation — was indicted in 2021 by US prosecutors who alleged, among other things, that girls and young women were coerced to have sex with him under threats of “eternal damnation”.

In a voice clip posted to the YouTube channel of his television network Sonshine Media last month, Quiboloy announced he was in hiding because he was afraid he would be subjected to “kidnapping or assassination” by the US and Philippine governments.

While the United States had not sought his extradition as of last week, Remulla raised the possibility it may do so later on.

“If we file the case only after the extradition comes up, we might be accused of holding up the extradition,” he added.

A US embassy spokesman on Monday referred AFP’s queries on Quiboloy to the US Justice Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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