Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who claims to be “The Appointed Son of God” as well as “The Owner of the Universe,” warned that he would run for president of the Philippines if there is nobody strong enough to replace President Rodrigo Duterte.
A report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer said Quiboloy made the pronouncement after boxing champ and Senator Manny Pacquiao continues to ignore the pastor’s challenge to a public debate.
“I will be forced to run so that he could no longer avoid the public debate,” said Quiboloy, a tele-evangelist and friend of Duterte, in his television program on Tuesday.
The pastor, who is the leader of the religious sect “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name,” also warned that he would target and expose all communist “lovers” if he decided to run for president.
“You, [Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army] lovers, you will have to face me if I run for president. I also have my own platform,” he said.
He said he would be very capable of running even if he did not have a political party. “God is my political party,” he said. “You can’t avoid it if it’s the will of the Father,” added the pastor.
“I hope that I will not be declared a nuisance because I have better capacity than whatever you have. I may not have a political party, my political party is God,” said Quiboloy.
Last week, Pacquiao sued Quiboloy for libel for accusing the boxer-turned-senator of embezzling funds intended for a US$70 million sports complex.
The eight-division world champion filed the case before a Manila court against Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “Owner of the Universe” and “Appointed Son of God.”
“He used this deliberate falsehood to brainwash the minds of the Filipino public,” said Pacquiao of Quiboloy, in announcing his lawsuit seeking US$2 million in damages.
Pacquiao has earlier announced that he is considering running for president next year and accused Duterte and his administration of corruption and of cozying up with China.
The complaint stemmed from Quiboloy’s television appearance and social media post accusing Pacquiao of misusing government funds in the unfinished construction of a sports training center.
“He used this deliberate falsehood to brainwash the minds of the Filipino public, recklessly propagating lies to blacken the image and reputation of an honest public servant,” read Pacquiao’s complaint.
Quiboloy’s lawyers said Pacquiao’s complaint is a political tactic for next year’s elections. “The complaint … may be considered as retaliatory and a political move,” the lawyers said in a statement.
“We shall do all within our power to ensure that this complaint will not curtail what is a constitutionally protected speech and expression,” it added.
The pastor’s lawyers said that as a taxpayer, Quiboloy has the “right to criticize and inform the public who are asking about public issues.”
Church leaders are highly influential in Philippine elections and their endorsements can be worth a huge number of votes.
Quiboloy’s group, Kingdom of Jesus Christ, says it has at least four million followers in the Philippines and another two million overseas.
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