MANILA - Malacañang on Friday said it will not involve itself in the incident involving President Rodrigo Duterte’s close friend, Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo Quiboloy.
In a radio interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque noted that Quiboloy is a “private individual” and that Duterte knows he can take care of himself.
Quiboloy arrived in Manila late Thursday on a commercial flight. While at Honolulu Airport, US authorities found $350,000 in undeclared cash and gun parts from his private jet.
Quiboloy’s camp insisted the pastor was not detained or charged.
“There was no violation of any US law,” Quiboloy’s spokesperson Israelito Torreon told ANC.
"Had a crime been committed, he would have been booked there, he would have been charged there, he would have been imprisoned there," Torreon added.
Quiboloy was in Hawaii to attend a concert and was about to fly back to Manila when US Customs officials boarded his Cessna plane for inspection.
The $350,000 cash, all in $100 bills, was found stuffed in socks, a Hawaii-based news site reported.
Quiboloy's companion, a certain Felina Salinas, was charged with attempted bulk cash smuggling after she admitted that she owned the money.
US law requires individuals to declare the cash they are taking out of the country if it exceeds $10,000.
Torreon said the pastor was "not deported, not charged, not imprisoned," clarifying the Hawaii news report. "There is no legal proceeding against Pastor Quiboloy."
"There is no need to talk about that (plane) because he is already here in the Philippines. That should be put to rest. That matter is being handled in the United States of America," he added.
Quiboloy is considered as one of the staunchest supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte. In 2016, he lent his private plane and helicopter to then then-Davao mayor for his presidential campaign.
Ties between Duterte and Quiboloy reportedly soured after Duterte won as president. Duterte allegedly snubbed Quiboloy after the pastor tried to suggest Cabinet appointees.