4 Quiboloy church members plead not guilty to sex, labor trafficking

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2021 08:16 AM | Updated as of Dec 05 2021 02:17 AM

LOS ANGELES, California - Four US-based administrators of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ virtually faced a Los Angeles federal judge on Friday and entered pleas of not guilty to sex and labor trafficking charges. 

Three southern California based defendants, Guia Cabactulan, Amanda Estopare, and Marissa Duenas, all entered not guilty pleas to a superseding indictment that accuses them of playing roles in a sex and labor trafficking and immigration fraud involving Davao-based megachurch Pastor Apollo Quiboloy. 

The three were charged in the original January 2020 indictment which resulted in an FBI raid at the KOJC compound in Van Nuys California. 

Felina Salinas also virtually checked into the Los Angeles court from Hawaii for her initial appearance to say that she understands the charges against her in the superseding indictment, and discussed the conditions of her unsecured $50,000 bond release.

Among her bond conditions are location monitoring, as well as avoiding contact with alleged victims, witnesses, and minors. 

Salinas entered a plea of not guilty.

The four are among 9 defendants in a superseding indictment that claims Quiboloy, a friend and adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte, and several other KOJC members engaged in the sexual trafficking and labor exploitation of KOJC Members. 

Court records indicate that several other defendants had previously entered their not guilty pleas in recent weeks. There is still no timetable on if and when the Philippine-based defendants, including Quiboloy, will be brought to the US to face the charges. 

The Philippine government has said they are still waiting for an extradition request from the US Government. 

Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has said that they would be open to investigating Quiboloy in the Philippines, but will wait for evidence from the US government to avoid duplication of any of the charges.

In an interview with Kingdom of Jesus Christ Worldwide General Counsel Michael Green, he said Quiboloy coming to the US would have an effect on his ability to carry out his church duties.

“One of the things that’s for certain is if he comes from the Philippines, he will not be allowed to return to his church and his congregation worldwide until this case is over which can take an awfully long time so there is a legal process and they have a law firm in the Philippines that is handling that process,” said Green.

Duenas, Estopare, and Cabactulan are scheduled to begin a jury trial in February of next year, while Salinas’ trial was set to January of next year. 

Green has previously stated the he expects all the defendants to go to trial together in California, and expects the court proceedings to proceed into 2023.

The latest indictment adds Quiboloy and 5 other new defendants to an existing indictment filed in 2020. 

The indictment alleges that Quiboloy and 2 other defendants recruited females aged 12 to 25 as personal assistants, or "pastorals." 

It said they were required to prepare Quiboloy’s meals, clean his residences, give him massages and have sex with him during what they called "night duty."

Denying the allegations, Quiboloy's camp has said they are ready to face the charges.