By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is following the developments on Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who is under the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted list, and can opt to hand down an immigration lookout order if circumstances warrant.
Quiboloy, 71, leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, was placed on the FBI most wanted list 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”.
Church members Teresita Dandan and Helan Panilag are also on the most wanted list for alleged conspiracy with Quiboloy.
“(W)e can issue an ILBO (immigration lookout bulletin order) motu proprio. Urgency is the key factor. We’ll play it by ear as we examine the evidence before us and as outside events unfold,” Guevarra told reporters via text message.
One of Quiboloy’s lawyers, Ferdinand Topacio, said in a virtual briefing on Sunday that his client is in Davao City and not in hiding.
DOJ Undersecretary Emmeline Villar previously said the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking has not received any complaints against Quiboloy while cases filed in Davao were dismissed.
Guevarra said until the DOJ finds sufficient reason to reverse the findings, it has no basis to apply for a precautionary hold departure order.
Quiboloy has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, California, 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.
On November 10, 2021, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest. (PNA)