DOJ’s Guevarra: No request yet from US gov’t to extradite Quiboloy

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2022 11:20 AM | Updated as of Feb 05 2022 11:57 AM

Extradition request to still go through the court

MANILA—The Philippine Department of Justice has yet to receive any request to extradite Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who was placed on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “most wanted” list based on its website.

Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra told ABS-CBN News Saturday morning that there are no communications yet regarding the matter.

“We have not received any official communication from the US government,” Guevarra said in a message

PROCESS

The justice chief explained a request is needed before Philippine authorities could act on the matter.

“Extradition cannot be done motu proprio, especially if the subject is our own citizen. Any communication will be coursed through diplomatic channels,” he said.

The extradition process, governed by the Philippine-US Extradition Treaty, will require a formal request from the US Department of Justice, coursed through the US State Department, DOJ’s chief state counsel George Ortha II explained.

The US Embassy in Manila will then relay the request to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before it goes to the DOJ.

“Our DFA checks the sufficiency of the request; if sufficient, the DFA endorses it to the DOJ. We then file a petition for extradition with the proper RTC on behalf of the US government,” Guevarra said.

The DOJ is the central authority on extradition matters. Its Office of the Chief State Counsel assists the Secretary of Justice. 

DOJ’s chief state counsel George Ortha II said that in practice, informal consultations are held between the US DOJ and the Philippine DOJ before a formal request is made.

Once a petition is filed in court, Guevarra said “the rest of our judicial process, including appeals, follows. In case the issuance of a warrant of arrest becomes necessary, the subject may post bail for his provisional liberty.”

The appeal, both Guevarra and Ortha said, could reach the Supreme Court. Ortha added that the process could take 5 years.

“Extradition is supposed to be a summary proceeding; we’re not supposed to be trying the US criminal charges here. But we have had cases where the process reached the Supreme Court, but were ultimately implemented,” Guevarra said.

Asked for the success rate of extradition petitions in court, Ortha said he doesn’t have the figures at the moment but said “it’s relatively high.”

“Probable cause lang ang threshold kaya bihira ang denial (The threshold is probable cause so denials are rare),” he said.

In the meantime, Guevarra said the DOJ will study the legal basis whether it can already issue an immigration lookout bulletin order or precautionary hold departure order against Quiboloy “in the absence of any official request or communication from the US side.”

“I’m sure the FBI knows where Pastor Quiboloy is. I’m also sure that the FBI knows the proper legal procedure to enable the US justice system acquire jurisdiction over Pastor Quiboloy’s person,” he added.

Quiboloy has been charged in the US for a number of crimes.

The FBI “most wanted” post lists the following crimes:

  •  conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion
  •  sex trafficking of children
  •  sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion
  •  conspiracy
  •  bulk cash smuggling