Some social media users called the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation hours before the presidential debate organized by the network of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
Quiboloy is among FBI’s most-wanted list in the United States for his alleged role in a labor and sex trafficking scheme.
Quiboloy also heads the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), the official broadcasting arm of his church called the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Its sister firm the SMNI News Channel recently organized its own national debate for the May polls.
It will be held in Okada Manila in Pasay City on Tuesday, February 15 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This would also be the first on-site presidential debate in the country for the coming May polls.
The candidates who have confirmed their attendance so far are the following:
- Labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman
- Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
- Ernesto Abella
- Norberto Gonzales
- Faisal Mangondato
However, reports said Mangondato will no longer attend the debate since he and his running mate Carlos Serapio were not formally invited by the host network.
Other candidates who will skip the debate are Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Manny Pacquiao, Panfilo Lacson, and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso due to different reasons.
Due to the network’s connections with Quiboloy, some Twitter users took the initiative to tag the FBI’s Twitter account to call its attention.
“Maybe we should invite @FBI on this debate. Maybe they’ll catch Quiboloy there as well,” an online user tweeted.
Others also used the hashtag #InviteFBItoSMNI on their tweets.
“#InviteFBItoSMNI for Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity- Three core values that the FBI stands for,” one Twitter user said.
“Supporting calls to #InviteFBItoSMNI,” another online user wrote.
Kevin Raymundo, also known as Tarantadong Kalbo, joined the movement with an artwork.
The artwork depicted a scenario where the FBI confirmed their attendance at the forum.
s t a p h 🚔 pic.twitter.com/TejPXreSaD
— Tarantadong Kalbo (@KevinKalbo) February 14, 2022
The name “SMNI” reached the trending topics on Twitter Philippines with over 19,000 tweets under its belt.
Last February 7, the FBI released the official wanted poster of Quiboloy on social media.
“Apollo Carreon Quiboloy is wanted by the #FBI in Los Angeles, CA, for his role in a labor and sex trafficking scheme that brought victims to America and, among other things, forced them to solicit donations for a bogus charity and enter into sham marriages,” the agency said.
Apollo Carreon Quiboloy is wanted by the #FBI in Los Angeles, CA, for his role in a labor & sex trafficking scheme that brought victims to America and, among other things, forced them to solicit donations for a bogus charity & enter into sham marriages: https://t.co/q8pNL81Xkm pic.twitter.com/2CEoJRdhsP
— FBI Most Wanted (@FBIMostWanted) February 7, 2022
In its profile, it was stated that the church leader was indicted by a federal grand jury at the US District Court for the Central District of California, Santa Ana, California for “conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of children; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; conspiracy; and bulk cash smuggling.”
A warrant for his arrest was issued on November 10, 2021.