Davao City – Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC) church and a close friend of President Bongbong Marcos, declared his intention to run for senator in the 2025 midterm elections.
Quiboloy made the announcement during his Sunday service on February 4, 2024, saying that he was “called by God” to serve the country and defend the truth.
“I have decided to accept the challenge and the mandate of the Almighty Father to run for senator in the next elections. This is not my personal ambition, but the will of the Father who appointed me as his son,” Quiboloy said.
Quiboloy said he was confident that he would win the support of the Filipino people, especially the millions of members of his church who regard him as the “owner of the universe” and the “messiah”.
He also said he was not afraid of the criminal charges filed against him by the US government, which accused him of sex trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes.
“These are all lies and fabrications of the devil and his agents who want to destroy me and the Kingdom. They are persecuting me because I am exposing their evil deeds and corruption. But they will not succeed, because the Father is with me and he will protect me and vindicate me,” Quiboloy said.
Quiboloy is facing a 74-page indictment document issued by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, California, on November 18, 2021, enumerating 95 overt acts of Quiboloy and eight of his female associates. The charges include conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, sex trafficking of children, marriage fraud, fraud and misuse of visas, bulk cash smuggling, promotional money laundering, concealment money laundering, and international promotional money laundering.
The FBI has also issued a warrant for Quiboloy’s arrest and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. Quiboloy has remained in the Philippines since the charges were filed, claiming diplomatic immunity as a “special envoy for overseas Filipino concerns” appointed by President Marcos in 2022.
Quiboloy is a staunch supporter of Marcos, who won the 2022 presidential election amid allegations of fraud and vote-rigging. Quiboloy endorsed Marcos and his running mate, Vice President Sara Duterte, the daughter of former president Rodrigo Duterte, who is also a close ally of Quiboloy. Quiboloy’s parents were loyal supporters of former president Ferdinand Marcos, the father of Bongbong Marcos, who ruled the Philippines under martial law from 1972 to 1986.
Quiboloy’s candidacy for senator is expected to face legal challenges from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which is tasked to screen and approve the candidates for the 2025 polls. The Comelec has already started the voter registration nationwide, which will end on September 30, 2024.
According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, Quiboloy may be disqualified from running for senator if he is proven to have committed any of the crimes charged against him by the US government, or if he fails to meet the citizenship and residency requirements for candidates.
“The law states that a candidate for senator must be a natural-born Filipino citizen, at least 35 years old on the day of the election, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election. If Quiboloy cannot comply with these qualifications, or if he is convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, he may be declared a nuisance candidate or disqualified by the Comelec,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez also said that the Comelec will coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to verify Quiboloy’s status as a special envoy and a fugitive from justice.
“We will ask the DFA and the DOJ to provide us with the necessary information and documents regarding Quiboloy’s appointment as a special envoy and his extradition case with the US government. We will also monitor the developments of his legal battles in the US courts. We will use these data as basis for our evaluation of his candidacy,” Jimenez said.
Quiboloy, however, dismissed the possibility of being disqualified by the Comelec, saying that he has the backing of President Marcos and the majority of the Filipino people.
“I have nothing to fear from the Comelec or any other agency that will try to stop me from running for senator. I have the full support of President Marcos, who is the most powerful and popular leader in the country. I also have the majority of the Filipino people, who love me and believe in me as the son of God. No one can stop the will of the Father,” Quiboloy said.