Senator seeks Quiboloy travel ban

Senator seeks Quiboloy travel ban

A SENATOR urged the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday to issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against Apollo C. Quiboloy, leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) religious sect, to prevent him from leaving the country amid investigations into his alleged involvement in human trafficking, among other crimes.

“I urge the Department of Justice to issue an immigration lookout bulletin order to prevent Quiboloy from leaving the country,” Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said. “He must not escape accountability. Our children’s lives are at stake.”

As of press time yesterday afternoon, the DoJ said it has not yet received a formal request on the matter.

In a press briefing, the senator presented testimonies of former members of KOJC accusing their church leader of human trafficking, rape, and sexual and child abuse. The KOJC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of them, using the alias “Jackson,” claimed that Mr. Quiboloy compelled them to beg for money for the church. He asserted that members faced physical abuse if they did not collect a sufficient amount. Recounting an experience 23 years ago, he stated: “The worst part was the beatings. I can’t forget it; more than 50 were beaten up in that gym.”

Another witness, under the alias “Arlene,” revealed that in 1991, they were coerced to feign muteness or deafness, posing as students begging for money on the streets of Metro Manila. She also disclosed instances of physical abuse from Mr. Quiboloy and his staff, who enforced fasting as punishment if they failed to meet their quota from selling rice cakes.

The senator also presented evidence to the media, showing that certain church members were recently compelled to beg for money and would face penalties if they attempted to escape from a “worker house,” where they were reportedly held captive.

“These are very real fears that they are living with, but I hope that through the filed resolution — and eventual investigation — they will be empowered to tell their truth and seek justice,” Ms. Hontiveros-Baraquel said. — Jomel R. Paguian