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No official request yet for Quiboloy's extradition to US —Amb. Romualdez

WASHINGTON, DC — The Philippine Embassy in the United States has yet to receive an official request for the extradition of controversial religious leader Apollo Quiboloy, who is declared wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for sex trafficking charges.

“We were informed that there was potentially a request for his extradition but so far there has been none coming our way,” Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said at a meeting with journalist-participants of Friends, Allies, Partners Program on Thursday (Manila time).

Romualdez, however, said that extradition requests, even though they usually go through the Philippine Embassy, “can also go to the US Embassy [in the Philippines].”

“There are law enforcement representatives in the US Embassy that can make a request directly to our Department of Justice… It doesn’t necessarily have to come to us,” he said.

Quiboloy, leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), was indicted by a federal grand jury in the US District Court for the Central District of 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.

In 2022, the FBI issued “Wanted” posters for Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “appointed son of god,” and two other members of his KOJC, namely Teresita Tolibas Dandan and Helen Panilag.

Quiboloy 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," the FBI said.

Romualdez said that “if a case, is in fact, filed against him (Quiboloy) in the Philippines then the extradition will probably, will have to take a back seat.”

“So it depends really on the Philippine government,” Romualdez said.

Quiboloy, who has denied the charges against him, had previously accused the US government, allegedly with help from Philippine government officials, of plotting to "eliminate" him through rendition in connection with the cases he is facing in the US.

With rendition, a suspect with an outstanding arrest warrant is forcibly abducted from another state, according to Oxford's definition. —KBK, GMA Integrated News