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TIMELINE: Apollo Quiboloy's legal troubles


It has been three months since warrants of arrest were issued against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) leader and televangelist Apollo Quiboloy, but he has remained elusive despite intensifying government efforts.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., in an interview in Rizal on Wednesday, challenged Quiboloy to show up and finally face accusations against him.

The hunt to bring Quiboloy to court has been a long, if not a difficult one, for law enforcers, not just in the Philippines but also in the United States.

How did Quiboloy's legal troubles start and how did he end up in his current predicament?

 

February 2018 — A Hawaii-based news agency reported that Quiboloy and six others were detained in Honolulu after US customs agents found $350,000 and rifle parts inside a private plane.

Quiboloy's camp later denied that the preacher was arrested and detained.

US citizen Felina Salinas, however, was arrested after she claimed that the cash was her money. Salinas was charged for attempted bulk cash smuggling.

April 2018 — The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly investigated complaints that KOJC church members were being flown into Hawaii to sell food as part of the religious group's fundraising activities.

Quiboloy's lawyer, Israelito Torreon, later denied that the KOJC was under FBI investigation, adding that service with the church is voluntary.

October 2018 — A former KOJC member reportedly filed a case before a Hawaii court accusing the preacher of sexually abusing her when she was just a minor.

Quiboloy's camp denied allegations that he was running a "child sex ring" in Hawaii.

December 2019Another former worker of the KOJC filed rape, qualified trafficking in persons, and child abuse charges against Quiboloy, Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, and Ingrid Canada before Davao prosecutors.

Similar to other previous allegations, Quiboloy's camp denied these, saying it was "part of a grand conspiracy."

January 2020 — KOJC administrators Guia Cabactulan, Marissa Duenas, and Amanda Estopare were reportedly arrested by the FBI for alleged human trafficking.

They were accused of forcing church members to solicit money for a children's foundation it was using as a front. The collection, however, allegedly went to the church's operations.

Meanwhile, members of Quiboloy's camp said they were "ready, able and willing to show and prove the innocence of the Kingdom."

February 2020 — A California federal grand jury charged Cabactulan, Duenas, and Estopare with labor trafficking. It found that they conspired to commit a series of offenses including trafficking with respect to forced labor, document servitude, immigration fraud, and marriage fraud.

July 2020Davao prosecutors dismissed the complaint for rape, child abuse, and human trafficking filed against Quiboloy and others due to "insufficiency of evidence and lack of probable cause."

October 2020 — Salinas, the Hawaii church manager of Quiboloy, was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying about a suitcase that contained hidden cash found in the pastor's private jet in 2018.

Aside from imprisonment, she was also slapped with a $500 fine.

November 2021US prosecutors indicted Quiboloy and others for allegedly running a sex trafficking operation that threatened victims as young as 12 with "eternal damnation" and physical abuse.

Los Angeles federal prosecutors said this expanded the allegations against the three church administrators.

The US court issued a warrant for his arrest on November 10, the FBI said.

The FBI also wanted to extradite Quiboloy to the US.

February 2022 — The FBI releases "wanted" posters for Quiboloy and two other church members. Quiboloy is wanted for his alleged participation in a labor trafficking scheme.

April 2022 — A Los Angeles paralegal pleaded guilty to participating in an alleged conspiracy to violate US immigration laws by preparing and filing fraudulent documents to gain legal permanent residency and citizenship for supposed KOJC members.

Quiboloy's camp, however, denied any connection to the paralegal, saying she is not a member of KOJC nor is she connected or affiliated with the church and the preacher.

December 2022 — The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Quiboloy over alleged serious human rights abuse, saying he engaged in "serious human rights abuse, including a pattern of systemic and pervasive rape of girls as young as 11 years old, for more than a decade."

The pastor's legal counsel said the statement was "outrageous grandstanding and utter politics by the US government."

December 2023 — Senator Risa Hontiveros filed proposed Senate Resolution 884, which seeks to investigate the cases against KOJC in aid of legislation to "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."

On the same day, Hontiveros also revealed accounts of victims who were allegedly exploited or sexually abused by Quiboloy.

His lawyers later dared Hontiveros to bring the case to court.

January 2024 — Quiboloy skips the Senate hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, prompting the committee to move to subpoena him.

Quiboloy later said he would not submit himself to the Senate inquiry and that he would only face the allegations against him before the courts.

February 2024 — The Senate officially issues a subpoena against Quiboloy.

Hontiveros later warned Quiboloy of arrest should he fail to attend the next hearing.

Quiboloy, however, said he was hiding due to alleged threats to his life. He also claimed that there was a $2 million bounty for him, a claim that the FBI denied.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises issues a subpoena against Quiboloy for failing to show up before the panel twice despite being invited amid its investigation over the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) network's supposed violations of its franchise to operate.

Quiboloy is the honorary chairman of SMNI.

March 2024 — Quiboloy maintained that he is no longer involved in SMNI. His camp asked the House Committee to subpoena the current executive pastor of the KOJC instead of him.

In the Senate, Hontiveros cited Quiboloy in contempt after he repeatedly ignored the subpoena issued by the Senate as he invoked his right to due process.

A judge of the Central District of California ordered the unsealing of the arrest warrants against Quiboloy and his co-accused in the case over charges of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, coercion, sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and cash smuggling.

A show cause order was issued on March 13 tasking Quiboloy to explain within a non-extendable period of 48 hours why he should not be ordered arrested and detained at the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.

Two days later, Quiboloy's camp submitted their response.

Lawmaker Rodge Gutierrez, who filed House Bill 9710 seeking to revoke the franchise of Swara Sug Media Corp. which operates SMNI, later said that it would be better for the Senate to issue the arrest order.

On March 19, the Senate released an arrest order against Quiboloy for "unduly refusing to appear, despite due notices" at the hearings of the Senate committee.

The Department of Justice later announced that Qualified Human Trafficking charges under Section 4 (a) of Republic Act 9208, as amended, pursuant to the Resolution were filed before a Pasig court.

Charges under Section 5(b) of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act and under Section 10(a) of the same act were also filed against Quiboloy before a Davao court.

April 2024 — A Davao court issued a warrant of arrest against Quiboloy and five others.

Authorities later served the warrant against him, but he was not at the KOJC compound in Davao. The warrant was handed to the administrator in the area.

Quiboloy was also not at the group's prayer mountain in Barangay Tamayong or at his resort in Samal Island.

The warrants were separately served to three of his co-accused, but they were released after posting bail. The remaining two co-accused later surrendered to authorities but were also released after posting bail.

Quiboloy later said he was ready to face his cases in the country provided that the Marcos administration give him written assurance that the United States would not interfere in his legal battle in the Philippines.

A Pasig court also issued warrants of arrest against Quiboloy and others.

May 2024 — The Supreme Court allows the transfer of the cases filed against Quiboloy in Davao to Quezon City to avoid a miscarriage of justice.

June 2024 — Authorities served the warrants against Quiboloy at the KOJC compound, the Prayer Mountain, and the Glory Mountain in Barangay Tamayong, Davao City, as well as on the KOJC's property in Kitbog, Sarangani Province, but did not find the pastor.

The KOJC ''strongly condemned'' the actions of authorities ''as they were not only laden with irregularities, but they were excessive and overkill.''

However, Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos said that the police lawfully served the warrant and that supporters of the pastor used water cannons against them.

July 2024 — Abalos said private individuals wanted to help in the case of Quiboloy and offered a P10 million bounty for information that will lead to his arrest.

Quiboloy's camp later questioned the motive of the private individuals in offering the bounty.

Asked about the matter, Marcos challenged Quiboloy to show up and face his accusations. The President said the government was just following the law.

— VDV, GMA Integrated News