DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 Feb) – Pastor Apollo Quiboloy was not detained at the airport in Honolulu, Hawaii after authorities reportedly found $350,000 in cash or P18.286 million (exchange rate: P52.25) and parts of rifles in his private jet that was set to leave for the Philippines, his spokesperson said.
Speaking in a morning program of ABS-CBN Davao on Friday, lawyer Israelito Torreon said the fact that Quiboloy was allowed to return immediately to the Philippines via a commercial flight meant he did not violate any US law because a “detention implies that he committed a crime.”
Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “son of God,” is a founding leader and executive pastor of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
“Because if there was a crime committed, he would have been ordered to stay there because that’s allegedly in flagrante delicto that there was crime being committed and therefore he needed to be detained in the US but that’s not what happened. He is here in the Philippines, and therefore we should just relax, this matter being clarified, I hope this put to rest now,” Torreon said.
Torreon serves as dean of the college of law at the Quiboloy-owned Jose Maria College along Diversion Road in Catitipan here, where his congregation is located.
He said he communicated with Quiboloy after the pastor and his companions landed in Manila from Hawaii at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
The pastor will lead a long-scheduled prayer rally in Ynares Compound in Antipolo on Sunday, he said.
The lawyer did not divulge details of the calls but said he was requested to inform Quiboloy’s followers that he is “okay and there is no need to panic,” as there was no case filed against him.
He did not elaborate what transpired in Hawaii saying his knowledge of the incident was limited.
“And I would be hypocrite if I will say anything about it because, in the first place, I was not there. What I will be saying will be hearsay evidence therefore I need not comment on it,” he added.
The Hawaii News Now reported on Thursday (Philippine time) that Customs and Border Enforcement agents found $350,000 cash and parts of military-style rifles in Quiboloy’s Cessna Citation Sovereign jet.
The plane carried Quiboloy and five other passengers, including American Felina Salinas, 47.
However, the report said Salinas, a supporter of Quiboloy and business manager at the Waipahu church, was the only one arrested after she admitted that the cash was hers.
But she was released after paying a $25,000 bond, the report said.
It said she was charged with attempted bulk cash smuggling when she declared only $40,000, as the Federal law requires “anyone taking more than $10,000 out of the country to declare it.”
The report added the federal government wanted to work for the seizure of $15-million private plane that was left in Honolulu.
“As to the detail, whether or not the money was taken and gun parts were taken, these are handled by my American counterparts,” Torreon said.
Quiboloy is a close friend of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. He offered his private jet to the then presidential candidate during the general elections in 2016.
The religious leader claimed to have dreamt of Duterte’s victory in the presidential elections. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)