The US Embassy in Manila this week said the release of the “Most Wanted” poster for Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who claimed to be the “Appointed Son of God,” had nothing to do with the Philippines’ national elections in May.
“The FBI’s release of a wanted poster for Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy follows a multi-year effort by law enforcement,” read a statement from the Embassy.
“It is unrelated to the Philippines’ ongoing presidential election campaign,” it added.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation released the poster for Quiboloy who has been charged of “conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy; bulk cash smuggling.”
The FBI said the religious sect leader is “wanted for his alleged participation in a labor trafficking scheme that brought church members to the United States, via fraudulently obtained visas, and forced the members to solicit donations for a bogus charity, donations that actually were used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyles of its leaders.”
“Members who proved successful at soliciting for the church allegedly were forced to enter into sham marriages or obtain fraudulent student visas to continue soliciting in the United States year-round,” it added.
“Furthermore, it is alleged that females were recruited to work as personal assistants, or ‘pastorals,’ for Quiboloy and that victims prepared his meals, cleaned his residences, gave him massages and were required to have sex with Quiboloy in what the pastorals called ‘night duty,'” said the FBI.
The US agency said Quiboloy was indicted by a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Santa Ana, California. The US court issued a warrant for his arrest on November 10, 2021.
On Sunday, Quiboloy’s legal counsel, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, insinuated that the US is trying to interfere in this year’s elections by attacking the pastor who is known to be a friend of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I’m not fomenting any conspiracy theories here, but we all have to be in a state of abject denial to say that the United States has not been interfering with our elections since as far as we can remember,” said Topacio.
He said that what the US has been doing against Quiboloy can be a “distraction and an issue” against the Duterte administration.
Quiboloy himself said the sex trafficking allegations against him come with being the “Appointed Son of God.”