Quiboloy denies holding grudge against Duterte

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Rodrigo Duterte and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy. File/Composite.

I won't interfere with national interest, says pastor

DAVAO CITY - Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the leader of the Davao-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ religious group, downplayed Monday the reported rift between him and incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.

Coming down from a prayer mountain after going on a fast, Quiboloy spoke for the first time following reports that he was displeased with some of Duterte's choices for his official family.

The pastor said he holds no grudge against Duterte after the latter became unreachable since winning the elections.

“Nauunawan ko kasi si mayor ay masyadong busy at yung mga pagkakataong iyun, ilang araw masyado nang busy at ilang araw din busy din ako dito,” he said.

Duterte’s spokesperson Mike Abe earlier claimed that Quiboloy felt bad after being shut out by the people surrounding Duterte.

However, KJC Executive Secretary Eleanor Cardona told reporters today that Abe’s statements in recent days may have been mixed with his own sentiments.

Quiboloy, nagtatampo kay Duterte

Abe’s pronouncements gave the impression that the pastor was lobbying for certain people and was dismayed after his opinion and recommendations were not considered by the mayor.

In the press conference, however, Quiboloy said he would not interfere with national interest, saying he respects Duterte’s statement that “his loyalty with his friends ends where his loyalty to his party begins.”

READ: Duterte to friends: I decide alone

“Wala po akong tutol doon. Kung ako ang nakahaharang sa national interest ng ating bansa, ako na mismo ang aalis, ako na mismo ang iiwas upang di ako makahadlang doon sa national interest na ngayon ay tinitingnan ni mayor, ‘di na bilang mayor lang kundi isang pangulo ng ating bansa,” he said.

Quiboloy has been an ardent supporter of Duterte for years, lending the incoming president his own jet and helicopter during the campaign period and even giving him cars and properties.

He, however, said he wants to correct the impression that his closeness with Duterte means that he gets to ask favors from the longtime Davao City mayor.

"Baka na-misunderstood na ‘yung friendship namin ni mayor ay nagagamit ko against public interest or not good for public interest… Iko-correct ko lang kasi pareho kami ni mayor na nagbabantay sa public interest. Bilang public leader ganoon din ang aking tinatayuan," he said.

Quiboloy also admitted many people have been asking him to bring up their concerns to Duterte.

"Sinabi ko sa kanila na ako ay wala doon, na pwede nilang sabihin sa akin at kung magkaroon ng pagkakataon na magkausap kami ni mayor ay masabi ko sa kanya ang mga concern niyo," he said.

"Sinabi kong wala ako doon at hindi ako kasali doon. Kung pwede dumeretso kayo pero yung iba, sa akin pumupunta."

Cardona said Quiboloy felt "burdened" that some people were asking him if he approves of Duterte’s recent decisions.

“He did not feel bad. He just felt that burdened that people are asking him na parang ‘approve mo ba yan pastor?’” he said.

Quiboloy said he continues to support Duterte. In fact, he went up the mountain to pray that the incoming Duterte administration succeeds.

"Marami ang nagtanong kung ano raw ang dinalangin ko sa fasting. Ang ginawa kong prayer and fasting ay panalangin para sa ating bansa at para sa ating bagong darating na leasership sa pamumuno ni mayor, na sana ang bansang ito ay tulad ng inaasahan natin na darating na sa tunay na pagbabago," he said.

"Gusto kong malaman ng buong bansa na we are squarely behind him, supported ko po ang public career ni Mayor Duterte from when we became friends 30 years ago hanggang ngayon."