US Treasury sanctions Quiboloy, around 40 others for 'corruption, human rights abuse'

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2022 05:41 PM | Updated as of Dec 10 2022 05:50 PM

Duterte supporter Pastor Apollo Quiboly speaks during the miting de avance on May 7, 2016 in Luneta. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
Duterte supporter Pastor Apollo Quiboly speaks during the miting de avance on May 7, 2016 in Luneta. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

2017 EO blocks US properties of persons involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption

MANILA — The United States Treasury Department has slapped sanctions on Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) Pastor Apollo Quiboloy and around 40 others across 9 countries for alleged involvement in corruption and human rights abuses.

A press release dated December 9 posted on the US Treasury official website identified Quiboloy as among those sanctioned, along with other individuals and entities from North Korea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guinea, Iran, Mali, Russia and China. 

The sanctions were announced to mark the Human Rights Day and International Anti-Corruption Day.

A section devoted to Quiboloy’s alleged serious human rights abuses claimed an alleged “pattern of systemic and pervasive rape of girls as young as 11 years old, as well as other physical abuse.” 

Quiboloy was indicted in November 2021 and placed on FBI’s most wanted list in February this year for the following charges:

  • 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

According to the US Treasury Department’s press release, Quiboloy allegedly recruited “pastorals” or young women within the KOJC selected to work as his personal assistants in the US and the Philippines who are allegedly required to have sex with the pastor. 

“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. The pastorals, who were mostly minors when initially abused by Quiboloy, were told by him to ‘offer your body as a living sacrifice’,” it said.

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“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 added.

The US Treasury Department also accused Quiboloy of subjecting KOJC members to physical abuse.

ABS-CBN News has reached out to Quiboloy for comment. 

QUIBOLOY LAWYERS 'SURPRISED, SHOCKED' 

Quiboloy's lawyers on Saturday expressed shock over the US Treasury Department’s declaration.

His legal team consisting of KOJC general counsel Michael Jay Green, personal legal counsel Manny Medrano, and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said there was lack of due process in the US sanctions on their client.

His lawyers previously denied the allegations against Quiboloy.

“It’s just a sad day. It’s a pathetic day when the press release could be issued by the United States government to Department of Treasury based on mere allegations. No one has been convicted,” Medrano said.

“Never mind the guilt or innocence at this point. The fact remains that the US government, the executive branch of the US government, has already pronounced sentence upon our client,” Topacio said in a press briefing.

"This is unheard of. It's hard to believe that the sanctions against Quiboloy are coming from the US where the system of justice includes the presumption of innocence of the accused," Green said. "It's as if Quiboloy is already guilty. They convicted him already. Something I never thought would happen in the US."

"It is a sad day for the US," he said. "I feel embarrassed as an American."

SANCTIONS

The sanctions on Quiboloy are based on Executive Order 13818 “for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse.”

EO 13818 is an executive order signed by former US President Donald Trump in 2017 which blocks properties in the US of persons involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption.

The sanctions mean all properties and interests in properties of Quiboloy in the US or held by US persons are blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of US Treasury Department. 

“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,” the press release said.

EO 13818 builds upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016 which authorizes the US government to impose economic sanctions on foreign governments implicated in human rights abuses in any part of the world, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the US.

It expanded the scope of those covered by the Magnitsky Act by including individuals and entities associated with perpetrating human rights abuse or corruption.

As of December 3, 2021, some 148 individuals and 189 entities have been sanctioned under EO 13818, according to research from US Congressional Research Service.

The Magnitsky Act was patterned after the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was passed in 2012 as a result of the detention and death of Sergei Magnitsky after exposing corruption in the Russian government.

The Philippine Department of Justice has yet to comment on the issue.