On Tuesday, January 23, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy did not attend the Senate investigation on the reported cases of human trafficking, rape, sexual abuse, violence, and child abuse.
The Senate Committee on Women and Children conducted its inaugural public hearing on the alleged extensive cases of human trafficking, rape, and child abuse within the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC). Despite being invited, Quiboloy, who asserts to be the “appointed son of God,” did not appear and instead sent a representative.
Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, the committee chair, responded by issuing a subpoena for Quiboloy after he ignored the inquiry, criticizing his lack of regard for the Senate by refusing to attend the public hearing.
In December 2023, Senator Risa Hontiveros submitted Resolution 844, urging the Senate to investigate allegations that female members, referred to as “pastorals,” within Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s group were purportedly forced to engage in household tasks for Quiboloy, perform sexual acts, and solicit money from strangers.
During the committee’s proceedings, a witness named “Amanda,” identified as a former “pastoral” member, shared her experience of being sexually assaulted by Quiboloy at the age of 16.
“I had a very traumatic experience while at the KJC compound [in Davao City]. I haven’t recovered [from my ordeal] until now. I know that I was not the only minor who fell victim to Quiboloy’s sexual harassment,” Amanda said in Filipino.
“Jerome” testified that he and some boys were ordered to sell snacks in the streets. They were punished if they failed to sell a lot. They were “not allowed to fall in love, play computer games, and [were] forced to solicit money in jeepneys.”
Several women, recognized as Ukrainians and members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KoJC), left the religious organization after experiencing alleged sexual abuses during their “night duty” with their former leader.
The Ukrainian individuals provided testimonies against Quiboloy via video conferencing. One of them disclosed that she and her family began attending the congregation in Ukraine in 2012. Quiboloy reportedly informed her that to become a pastoral, she had to “sacrifice everything, including your body.”
“I was very innocent. I did not understand [what he meant]. Then he was trying to explain to me the meaning of that — you have to sacrifice your body, you have to have sex with him,” she said.
“One time at night, he came to my room to have sex [with me]. I was crying. I said I don’t want [to do it]. He got mad at me. He said, ‘You’re going to hell because of that,’” she added.
The other Ukrainian victim said that when she was instructed to massage Quiboloy, “little by little, he turned to me, and he removed my clothes. I was very shocked.”
In 2022, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation listed Quiboloy as wanted for purported sex trafficking charges. Quiboloy, along with two members of his church, faced an indictment in November 2021 by a federal grand jury in a US district court in California for charges related to the “conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion.”
“An investigation in aid of legislation will also allow us to determine whether our updated human trafficking laws are able to cover large-scale and systematic acts of trafficking done under the cover of a religious organization,” Hontiveros said.
“Considering that the crimes were committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and considering that crimes are taking place even at present as Quiboloy remains free to run the operations of KoJC, it is imperative that an investigation be undertaken with dispatch,” she added.
She said that Quiboloy demands strict obedience from his followers through “brainwashing, psychological manipulation and constant threats of eternal damnation.”