Photos and videos of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a controversial Filipino evangelist, circulated on social media recently amid another legal case against him in Hawaii.
The leader of locally founded church Kingdom of Jesus Christ Name above Every Name or KJC is accused of being involved in a “child sex ring.”
Quiboloy, who calls himself the “Appointed Son of God,” is also notable for his close relations with President Rodrigo Duterte back when he was a mayor in Davao City.
He claims that his religious group has over four million followers in the Philippines and two million more in other countries.
New owner of the world?
Some online Filipinos were criticizing a photo of the backdrop of a stage that says, “The New Owner of the World” with Quiboloy’s image, shared on Reddit Philippines on October 16.
Reddit users expressed their apprehension toward the pastor mainly due to his strong religious beliefs.
The snapshot is the backdrop of the stage used at worship events of the KJC. Photos of it can be found on Quiboloy’s official Facebook page, which has more than one million followers.
A video clip of the Davao-based pastor also gained traction on Facebook. In it, he proclaimed to “own the souls of the people” and “the way and the life” as his reason for not engaging in a debate.
“Papaano ko kayo dedebatihin niyan, eh ako ang may ari ng kaluluwa ninyo, ako ang may ari ng sanlibutan, ngayon!” Quiboloy said.
The short visual is part of an episode of a show called “Powerline” aired on a TV network called Sonshine Media Network International, which Quiboloy also owns.
As seen on the recording, the episode was aired on October 10. The video, meanwhile, was shot at the Covenant Mountain and Paradise Garden of Eden Restored, a place in Davao where the main church of KJC is situated.
Videos released by the church show hours-long services where some ministers and members testify how the religious organization changed their lives, now more subject to the “will of God.”
Most Christians believe that Jesus Christ, who lived until AD 30, is the only begotten son of God and the Messiah that the Old Testament is pointing to.
Who is Apollo Quiboloy?
Quiboloy and the KJC group he founded had existed since 1985, but he was more noticed when he campaigned for Duterte’s presidency in 2015.
He and Duterte were known to be close friends for more than 30 years.
They first met when Duterte was just a city prosecutor and the pastor was just starting out his group, which he formed after leaving another Christian sect, the United Pentecostal Church. He had only 15 members in Davao City back then.
Previous reports say that their friendship soon became distant when then president-elect did not consider the pastor’s suggestions for his Cabinet appointees.
This year, Quiboloy was involved in a series of allegations with KJC members in Hawaii.
String of controversies
In February, Quiboloy and his business manager Felina Salinas were charged for allegedly smuggling $350,000 in cash and gun parts on their private plane.
However, only Salinas was indicted in Hawaii last August.
Aside from smuggling, Salinas was arrested in 2015 for assault charges against a former member, Kristina Angeles.
Following this incident, Hawaii News Now reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation started looking into possible human trafficking within Quiboloy’s church located in Waipahu town in Hawaii.
On October 2, Angeles filed sexual harassment charges against Quiboloy. She, herself, was also facing trial for the same complaint.
The church’s local attorney, Michael Green, however, tried to counter the charges against Quiboloy, dismissing them as diversion.
In the Philippines, Quiboloy and his church were also linked in land-grabbing and child custody controversies of more than a decade ago.