Lawyers of Quiboloy say freeze order on his assets in US violated due process

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 December) – Lawyers of self-anointed son of God and head of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) Pastor Apollo Quiboloy said the recent move of the US government freezing the assets of their client has denied him of due process.

The US Department of the Treasury has included Quiboloy in the list of over 40 individuals from different countries whose assets have been blocked over allegations of corruption and human rights abuse.

In a statement, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued the sanctions in time for the Human Rights Day and International Anti-Corruption Day to “demonstrate the U.S. government’s focus on promoting respect for human rights and countering corruption.”

It said Quiboloy is designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 “for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse.”

But lawyer Michael Jay Green, general counsel of KOJC, in a virtual press conference said he was “stunned” by the recent move of the US government against Quiboloy, which he said has deprived him of his right to be heard.

“It’s hard for me to believe that this is coming from the United States. They already convicted him. Presumption of innocence no longer exists,” he said.

Ferdinand Topacio, KOJC legal counsel in Metro Manila, called the recent move “surreal” as he knew “America is a bastion of liberty, justice, and freedom and fair play. It really comes as a shock.”

Topacio said Article I Section 3 of the Philippine Constitution, which was taken from the American Constitution, provides “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

He said “a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise beyond a shadow of doubt.”

“You can just imagine my surprise this morning when all of the things that I have been taught about the US, the origin of our Bill of Rights, they all flew out of the window,” he said.

The OFAC said all property and interests in property of the designated persons that “are in the US or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC, including those assets that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more.”

“The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person,” it said.

It said the evangelist, the self-styled “Appointed Son of God” and founder of KOJC, The Name Above Every Name, was indicted in 2021 for sex trafficking involving “young women within the KOJC selected to work as personal assistants for Quiboloy.”

Quiboloy is currently on the wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Pastorals were directed to have ‘night duty,’ which required them to have sexual intercourse with Quiboloy on a determined schedule. Quiboloy kept pastorals in various countries, including the Philippines and the United States,” OFAC said.

It alleged that “Quiboloy exploited his role within the KOJC to rape his victims and subject them to other physical abuse, describing these acts as sacrifices required by the Bible and by God for the victims’ salvation.”

It added that the pastorals, who were mostly minors when initially abused by Quiboloy, were told to “offer your body as a living sacrifice.”

The OFAC also alleged that the pastor subjected pastorals and other KOJC members to other forms of physical abuse.

“One female reported she lost count of the number of times she was forced to have sex with Quiboloy, as it was at least once a week even when she was a minor and in every country to which they traveled. Another woman reported she was forced to perform night duty at least 1,000 times,” it said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)