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Senate issues subpoena vs. Quiboloy; more church members come forward with stories of abuse

By NICK GARCIA Published Feb 19, 2024 3:50 pm

The Senate issued a subpoena to Apollo Quiboloy amid its committee’s investigation into the alleged cases of human trafficking, child labor, and physical and sexual abuses within the controversial church leader’s organization.

The subpoena, which orders Quiboloy to attend the hearings, was prepared on Feb. 14 and was signed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Feb. 19.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, thanked Zubiri for making the upper chamber’s policy the same as her committee, i.e., to put the voices of women and children first, and to put the voices of the victim-survivors at the center.

"[Y]ou are hereby commanded and required to appear before the Senate, then and there to testify under oath on what you know relative to the subject matter," an excerpt of the subpoena addressed to Quiboloy reads.

Quiboloy didn’t attend the first hearing last Jan. 23, calling it “bogus” and claiming it “turned a monster out of me.”

His camp said they’d only face the allegations against him before the courts.

During the Senate hearing, members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) came forward with horror stories of abuse, including minors being forced to give sexual services to Quiboloy. They were also allegedly coerced to beg for money from strangers.

On the Feb. 19 hearing, more KOJC members testified to expose the alleged abuses in the organization.

“Rene” said a department head forced him to engage in homosexual acts, which was allegedly approved by Quiboloy.

He said he also worked as a researcher at Quiboloy’s Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) but didn’t receive any pay. An executive also allegedly slapped him several times.

After his unpaid work at SMNI, “Rene” said he was ordered to beg for money in the streets and must reach at least P3,000 daily. His fellow beggars also included minors aged 13 to 16.

If they fail to meet the daily quota, Rene said they’d be punished with hard work and physical abuse.

“David,” who worked as a cameraman for SMNI, also said he didn’t receive any pay, due to the belief that they’re serving God.

Quiboloy, who calls himself the “Appointed Son of God,” has been on the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list since February 2022. He, however, is still actively preaching in and outside the Philippines. 

A federal grand jury in the US District Court in California indicted Quiboloy for alleged crimes of “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.” He was issued a federal warrant of arrest on November 10, 2021.  

Hontiveros also asked the Department of Justice to issue an immigration lookout bulletin order against Quiboloy, in which immigration officers are required to alert the justice secretary and the prosecutor general if he tries to leave the country.