SENATOR Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution seeking the conduct of an inquiry into the alleged crimes being committed by Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) under its leader Apollo Quiboloy.
Hontiveros filed on Monday, December 11, 2023, House Resolution 884, directing the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality to launch a probe, in aid of legislation, into the reported cases of large-scale human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse and violence and child abuse of the KOJC led by Quiboloy.
In her resolution, Hontiveros said Quiboloy “who styles himself as the appointed son of god” is allegedly brainwashing and manipulating through threats of eternal damnation in order for his full-time followers to give his demands with strict obedience.
She said based on reports, Quiboloy is maintaining a stable of women, including minors, tagged as “pastorals” who are tasked to perform special personal tasks and errands for him, including “exploitative acts” such as begging in the streets and soliciting money from strangers.
“According to informants, the pastorals are divided into the ‘inner circle’ and the ‘inner of the innermost circle,’ with the latter category being made to perform acts of a sexual nature and the former category being made to perform other personal tasks such as washing his clothes, bathing him, cleaning his bedroom and massaging him,” stated the resolution.
“According to informants, those who are not able to meet their quota of monies collected find themselves severely whipped, or subjected to public humiliation,” it added.
Hontiveros noted Quiboloys’ and other KOJC’s officials indictment in California, USA in 2021 for “conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.”
“Considering that the crimes were committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and considering that crimes are taking place even at present as Quiboloy remains free to run the operations of KOJC, it is imperative that an investigation be undertaken with dispatch,” she said.
“An investigation in aid of legislation will also allow us to determine whether our updated human trafficking laws are able to cover large-scale and systemic acts of trafficking done under the cover of a religious organization,” she added.
The House of Representatives is currently investigating the alleged involvement of the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), which is owned by Quiboloy, in the proliferation of fake news, including the alleged spending of P1.8 billion by House Speaker Martin Romualdez for his travels.
SMNI public affairs program hosts former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy-Pastora and her co-host Jeffrey Celiz are currently detained at the House of Representative after they were cited in contempt during the investigation for acting in a disrespectful manner and refusing to answer relevant questions.
House Secretary General Reginald Velasco clarified during the inquiry that Romualdez only had a P4.3 million travel budget from January to October 2023. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)