Guevarra: ‘No special treatment’ for Quiboloy

Published November 19, 2021, 4:15 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra (2)

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Friday, Nov. 19, assured that the government will not give special treatment to President Duterte’s spiritual adviser, Pastor Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, who is facing indictment in the United States for alleged sex trafficking.

“The DOJ, through the IACAT (Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking), will perform its mandate under the law regardless of the persons involved,” said Guevarra who is also IACAT chairperson.

Also, Guevarra said: “We have an existing extradition treaty with the US. We also have an existing agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with that country.”

He pointed out that “treaty obligations are as legally binding on us as our own laws.”

The assurances were made by Guevarra after the US DOJ announced in its official website last Nov. 18 that Quiboloy – leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC) — has been indicted by a federal grand jury with sex trafficking along with other members of the religious group.

Despite the US indictment, Guevarra said he sees no need at the moment to have law enforcement look into the whereabouts of Quiboloy.

“I have no information indicating that pastor Quiboloy will not be found in his usual residence or place of work,” he said.

He said “we have not received any communication from the American government regarding Pastor Quiboloy’s case in the US.”

He noted that “there is no pending criminal case against him in Philippine courts for sex trafficking or similar offenses.”

But he said a female complainant in Davao City filed in 2020 a complaint against Quiboloy for rape, child abuse, ill treatment under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), trafficking in persons through forced labor, and trafficking in persons through sexual abuse.

He said the charges have been dismissed by the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office and the dismissal has been appealed to the DOJ “sometime this year.”

The US DOJ said in its website that Quiboloy and two co-defendants –Teresita Tolibas Dandan and Felina Salinas — have been “charged in count one of the superseding indictment, which alleges the sex trafficking conspiracy” and each “charged in at least three of five substantive counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.”

“These three defendants allegedly recruited females ranging from approximately 12 to 25 years of age to work as personal assistants, or ‘pastorals,’ for Quiboloy. The indictment states that the victims prepared Quiboloy’s meals, cleaned his residences, gave him massages and were required to have sex with Quiboloy in what the pastorals called ‘night duty.’ The indictment specifically mentions five female victims, three of whom were minors when the alleged sex trafficking began,” the US DOJ also said.