JUDGMENT DAY looms for doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy, the self-professed “Appointed Son of God” who now teeters on the brink of damnation following a string of charges filed against him by the United States and Philippine governments, the shutdown of his propaganda network, and the waning clout of his political pals. 

As leader of the Davao-based sect Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), which claims to have 7 million followers worldwide, Quiboloy had basked in the political limelight during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, his spiritual advisee. The non-Catholic religious group hails Quiboloy as a “kingmaker” and a “formidable  force” who has withstood all tribulations that come with being a “magnet of controversy.”

All of these epithets failed to hold up, however, when controversy began to hound the preacher. Quiboloy has been left high-strung by the litany of charges filed against him, which was precipitated by the federal arrest warrant served to him by the US in 2021 after being indicted for conspiracy, sex trafficking of children, sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling.  

At the core of these accusations lies Quiboloy’s supposed involvement in an elaborate labor trafficking scheme, which involved bringing KOJC members to the US through bogus visas and having them solicit donations for a fake charity. The pastor was also said to have coerced young girls and women into committing carnal acts under the guise of religious duty.  

Sans a formal extradition request from the US government, the Philippine Congress has proceeded with its own investigations, with the House of Representatives focused on the violations of the corporation behind the televangelist’s Sonshine Media Network Inc. and the Senate on Quiboloy’s alleged sex trafficking and child abuse violations. The Department of Justice has also filed multiple non-bailable raps versus the embattled pastor.  

But all probes and subpoenas were futile in making the doomsday preacher surface. Blaming a supposed assassination plot against him allegedly devised by the US in cahoots with President Marcos Junior, Quiboloy has been in hiding since his summon orders began to pile up.

“I no longer have my constitutional rights. We are always in hiding. We always have to watch our backs because somebody is going after us,” Quiboloy said in a taped voice message posted on Facebook. 

Vice President Sara Duterte denounced the Senate investigation as a “trial by publicity,” while Marcos Junior urged the pastor to appear before Congress and provide testimony. Out of the aliases ascribed to Quiboloy, he only seemed to embody the role of a Modern Moses, accentuating the growing divide between the red and green seas of the Marcos-Duterte allyship. 

Feeling compelled to save the preacher, the last left of Quiboloy’s comrades in the Senate moved to block the contempt order against the alleged rapist preacher for failing to present himself before the Senate during inquiries. Senators Imee Marcos, Cynthia Villar, Mark Villar, Bong Go, and Robin Padilla all joined the ditch effort to save the so-called Appointed Son of God from facing judgment in the Senate halls.  

Padilla, who led the solicitation of signatures among the 14 members of the Senate Committee on Women and Children, said he owed so much to the pastor since he was a staunch supporter of the fight against insurgency. Villar’s rationale was entirely unbecoming of a senator but was predictable for someone who’s intellectually vacuous nonetheless. 

Kaibigan ko si Pastor Quiboloy. Mabait siya sa aming pamilya at nagtataka ako dyan sa case na ‘yan, kaya medyo hindi ako masyadong naniniwala dyan sa case na ‘yan,” Villar said. “Kilala ko siya personally and nakakahiya naman na ako e ipahuhuli ko siya. Diyos ko! You don’t do that to a friend.”

Beyond being a farcical attempt to block an otherwise constitutional and valid proceeding, the solicitation of signatures served as a litmus test for lawmakers, revealing those prioritizing personal interests over national duty. Pledging allegiance to the Constitution, only to forsake it in defense of a friend, is more shameful than ordering the arrest of your comrade.

It is appalling to see how the institution once touted to be revered, democratic, and a bastion of free debate and oversight of the Republic has been infiltrated by traitorous, inner-directed officials who are willing to abuse power for personal gain. Perhaps the five senators who came to Quiboloy’s defense were seeking good graces from the self-styled Appointed Son of God, hoping to leverage his flock of disciples for the upcoming midterm polls.  

“The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ era will persecute and murder many of these future messengers. They will even pursue them when they try to flee persecution (Acts 8:1–3). This is what is happening to Pastor Quiboloy at the hands of this government,” said Quiboloy’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.  

Drawing parallels between Quiboloy, an alleged child rapist and fugitive, and persecuted faithful is outright blasphemy. Lawmakers must vehemently denounce the pastor’s actions and reaffirm the demarcation between Church and State, which has often been misemployed to serve as a buckler of erring religious group leaders against prosecution.  

Reversing roles, Quiboloy must now heed the advice of his spiritual mentee Duterte: face the music and get himself arrested. If true repentance indeed lies at the heart of his professed faith, Quiboloy should lead by example and confront the consequences of his actions. Now is high time for the pastor to practice what he preaches.


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