Police failure to catch Quiboloy raises questions

Jun. 13, 2024

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The police’s huge operation last Monday that failed to locate and arrest fugitive preacher Apollo Quiboloy raised questions from officials over its conduct.

As early as 4 a.m. Monday, hundreds of police operatives from the Special Action Force (SAF) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) coming from different regions swooped into properties owned by Quiboloy in an attempt to arrest him. 

The operatives, in full battle gear with some bringing shields and water cannons, went to Quiboloy’s Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJOC) compound beside Davao International Airport in Buhangin, the Prayer Mountain and Glory Mountain in Tamayong, the QSands Baptismal Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, and the Kitbog Compound in Malungon, Sarangani.

The authorities were to serve warrants of arrest on Quiboloy and his five associates on counts of child and sexual abuse and trafficking.   

The preacher has been in hiding since February, claiming in an audio recording that he might be “eliminated” when arrested or be extradited to the United States where he faces similar charges of human trafficking.

Previous police operations on the same locations have failed to locate Quiboloy.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is heading a senate probe on the allegations against the preacher, said in a statement that there is a “breakdown in PNP (intelligence) gathering” for the continued failure to locate and arrest Quiboloy. 

“I am again calling on the PNP leadership to ensure that none of our officers are being influenced by Quiboloy or any of his allies, particularly former President (Rodrigo) Duterte,” she added.

The preacher is an ally and “spiritual adviser” of Duterte, and in the past has been sought by political candidates for endorsement to his KJOC which he claims has millions of members.

A former police official based in Cagayan de Oro, Dr. Manuel Jaudian, former president of the Professional Criminologists’ Association of the Philippines (PCAP), also raised questions on how the police conducted the raid without knowing where their target is.

“Like blind boxers, they went to Quiboloy’s properties… Where are the intelligence funds intended for situations like this? They are wasting time and resources,” Jaudian said in an interview.

Jaudian even raised doubts that the operation was “merely for show”.

Philippine National Police Regional Office 11 (PRO-XI) spokesperson Catherine del Rey said they will file new arrest warrants in court against Quiboloy if their investigation could locate his whereabouts.  The Bureau of Immigration said there has been no record of the fugitive preacher having the left the country.

Last month, 34 police officials including the city’s police director were relieved from their posts over a probe.  

The cases against Quiboloy have been ordered to be transferred from Davao City to Quezon City by the Supreme Court to protect witnesses and prevent influence from the preacher’s camp and his supporters.

Hontiveros and the PRO-XI both raised calls to Quiboloy supporters to cooperate and yield the preacher for the pursuit of justice.(davaotoday.com)

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