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No extradition request yet for Duterte adviser

The Philippine Justice department on Friday said it had not received a request from the United States to extradite a Filipino televangelist who is facing sexual trafficking charges there.

Apollo C. Quiboloy, President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s personal adviser who founded a Philippine-based church was indicted along with two US-based church administrators by a federal grand jury for allegedly coercing women as young as 12 to have sex with the religious leader.

Justice secretary Menardo I. Guevara said no sex trafficking charges had been filed or are pending in the Philippines against Mr. Quiboloy “involving the same factual circumstances as those in the recent US indictment.”

“The Department of Justice has not received any request for extradition from the US DOJ nor from the US State Department thru the Department of Foreign Affairs,” he told reporters in a Viber message

A complaint for rape was filed against Mr. Quiboloy last year in Davao City but the case was dismissed, Mr. Guevara said. “That dismissal is now on appeal with the DoJ.”

The Philippine presidential palace said Mr. Quiboloy, as a private individual, is capable of getting proper legal advice.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said the Philippines would cooperate if the US requests the religious leader’s extradition.

The US DoJ on its website said Mr. Quiboloy and his officials had been “charged in count one of the superseding indictments, which alleges the sex trafficking conspiracy” and each “charged in at least three of five substantive counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.”

Citing an indictment, the US DoJ said the victims prepared Mr. Quiboloy’s meals, cleaned his houses, gave him massages and were required to have sex with him in what they called “night duty.” Three of the five victims in the sex trafficking, which started before 2002 and continued until 2018, were minors.

The victims who were obedient were rewarded with food, luxurious hotel rooms, trips to tourist spots, and yearly cash payments that were based on performance, all paid for with money solicited by Mr. Quiboloy’s church workers in the US, US prosecutors said.

Victims who managed to escape suffered retaliation in the form of threats, harassment and allegations of criminal misconduct, according to a copy of the indictment.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles is closely monitoring the case against Mr. Quiboloy.

“The Consulate General is aware of the federal grand jury indictments that were unsealed today and the ongoing investigation by US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI,” it said via Viber message.

It promised to provide support to the US by seeking avenues to extend consular assistance to both the accused and victims. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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