Malacañang distances itself from Quiboloy, says he can ‘prove himself in court’

Image: US Federal Bureau of Investigation
Image: US Federal Bureau of Investigation

Malacañang Palace continues to distance itself from Kingdom of Jesus Christ Church founder Apollo Quiboloy, who is wanted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, including children, as well as conspiracy and cash smuggling.

“We reiterate that Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is a private individual,” Martin Andanar, acting presidential spokesperson, said in a statement.

The statement came after Los Angeles-based paralegal Maria de Leon admitted to conspiring with Quiboloy’s staff to smuggle church members into the United States — including arranging sham marriages — and agreed to cooperate with the US Department of Justice in prosecuting the pastor.

“He can defend himself in court in light of Maria de Leon’s recent action,” Andanar added.

The pastor, widely known as President Duterte’s close friend and spiritual adviser, figured in numerous public appearances amid the FBI’s announcement that Quiboloy was on its Most Wanted list — including praying over vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte at a campaign kickoff in February.

Quiboloy was earlier slapped with sex trafficking charges in a 74-page indictment prepared by US prosecutors, where he allegedly ran a sex-trafficking operation with victims as young as 12. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in a California district court, and a federal arrest warrant was issued in November.

READ: The FBI released a ‘Wanted’ poster for church pastor, Duterte ‘spiritual adviser’ Apollo Quiboloy

Bongbong Marcos skips CNN debate, confirms attendance at debate with Quiboloy-owned network

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