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Davao prosecutors junk rape, trafficking raps vs. Quiboloy, 5 church members

The Davao City Prosecutor's Office has dismissed complaints for rape, child abuse, and human trafficking against Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC) leader Apollo Quiboloy and five other church members.

Prosecutors dismissed the criminal complaints filed by a woman who alleged she was raped by Quiboloy, "paddled" by a church member with a piece of wood, and forced to beg for money, do carolling, sell food, and hand out envelopes for solicitations when she was a minor.

The complaints were made against Quiboloy, Jackielyn Roy, Cresente Canada, Paulene Canada, Ingrid Canada, and Sylvia Cemañes.

The complainant said she and her sister became members of the KJC in 2012.

She alleged that Quiboloy raped her in 2014 when she was 17 years old. But prosecutors, citing "inconsistencies" in her statements, threw out the complaint for "insufficiency of evidence and lack of probable cause."

Prosecutors said the woman did not allege that Quiboloy used force, threat or intimidation, nor that she put up "tenacious and aggressive resistance" against his alleged advances. While they noted that the complaint claims grave abuse of authority, prosecutors said there was no evidence showing how Quiboloy used his influence over the complainant.

"Abuse of influence cannot simply be inferred from the seeming influence that the respondent had over the complainant arising from his position in their organization; the same must be proven with evidence," prosecutors said.

They said there was no other evidence apart from the complainant's statements to support her allegation.

The woman also claimed that Cresente beat her and her sister with a paddle when they were minors, but prosecutors said she failed to show that the paddling was intended to debase or humiliate them.

Prosecutors said the act was instead a "disciplinary action" for the sisters' alleged failure to keep their restroom clean and for leaving a dirty bag on their bed.

"It can be fairly inferred that the respondent merely intended for the complainant and her sister to correct their behavior and for them to follow the rules," prosecutors said.

As for the accusation of ill treatment or slight physical injuries, prosecutors said the offense had already prescribed as the woman only filed the complaint more than five years after the alleged incident.

Prosecutors also said there was insufficient evidence of psychological abuse and emotional maltreatment.

On the allegation that the complainant was made to beg, sell food, do carolling and solicitations, prosecutors said these acts — except for begging — are "innocuous, "non-illegal" and were "merely income generating activities needed by any organization to financially survive."

And while prosecutors said child begging is a form of forced labor, they dismissed the complaint due to lack of jurisdiction, saying the alleged begging happened in Pasig City, not in Davao City where the complaint was filed.

Prosecutors threw out the complaint but said a new one could be filed before the prosecutor's office that has jurisdiction.

In all, prosecutors said they dismissed the complaint for child abuse due to insufficiency of evidence, for physical abuse due to prescription, for trafficking in persons through forced labor due to lack of jurisdiction, for trafficking in persons through sexual abuse for insufficiency of evidence, and for rape due to insufficiency of evidence and lack of probable cause. KBK, GMA News