Duterte and the AFP are complicit in the crimes of the monster Apollo Quiboloy
Apollo Quiboloy enjoys an international criminal’s dream: a co-dependent relationship with the ruling national and local political dynasty, most especially with the clan patriarch, and the protection of the mercenary Armed Forces of the Philippines to safeguard his multi-million pseudo-religious business empire.
Rodrigo Duterte and the AFP have their hands bloodied by the crimes of the monster Quiboloy, who for decades have given the megalomaniacal landgrabber safe haven and free rein to enslave and exploit peasants and Lumad, expand his empire into several other industry lines such as food and agricultural export, education, and media, and conduct his human trafficking and other criminal activities.
In the rural 3rd District of Davao City, Quiboloy rules as a feudal warlord with his own private army, with help of Task Force Davao and the various infantry battalions that have been assigned in Davao City over the years. His estate, by his own claim, occupies more than 5,000 hectares of the supposed protected area of Mt. Apo in Brgy. Tamayong, Manuel Guianga, Sirib and Carmen. It is a sprawling mega-hacienda with hundreds of unpaid slave labor, controlling interests in several export banana, gherkins, and pine tree plantations, and absolute discretion in conversion of land use.
In order to amass control of thousands of hectares of land, especially the ancestral domain of the Bagobo Klata tribe in the adjacent barangays of Manuel Guianga, Tamayong, Carmen, and Sirib, Quiboloy schemed and conspired with Duterte’s factotums in the area. He wields influence in the reactionary National Commission on Indigenous People, especially the Eastern Mindanao Command-instigated Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference for Peace and Development, which turns a blind eye to his ethnocidal campaign. In Sitio Kahusayan, Manuel Guianga in early 2006 for example, Quiboloy mobilized village officials and “offered” to buy the ancestral land of several families of the Bagobo Klata tribe for P10,000 or less. When the Lumad refused, Quiboloy resorted to harassment, intimidation and killings.
In April 2008, intending to clamp down on the swelling resistance against his landgrabbing schemes, Quiboloy’s private goons and agents of Task Force Davao murdered Datu Dominador Diarog and severely wounded his wife and two daughters. Several other incidents of harassments and murder followed in the wake of Quiboloy’s crusade to seize control of the Lumad’s ancestral domain, including the killing of farmer Herme Alegre in July 2016. Following the killing of Datu Diarog, AFP troops escorted Quiboloy’s backhoes to bulldoze the ancestral land of the Bagobo Klata, especially the area of the slain datu. Troops from the 84th IB and 73rd, and currently the 3rd IB, have served as lowly security guards of Quiboloy’s fenced compound.
In August 2018, soldiers from the 3rd IB “mediated” a “settlement” between members of the Bagobo Klata tribe and Quiboloy’s representatives who were also village officials. Several Lumad in attendance later reported that the “mediation” was actually an anti-revolutionary movement forum, as the soldiers ridiculed the tribe’s historical struggle against Quiboloy’s aggressive landgrabbing and coerced them to agree to put an end to the land dispute without concretely addressing the issue.
Quiboloy holds considerable sway in the Duterte political dynasty, securing the former’s “blessing” in running for local and national posts, and “tagging along” in official trips during Duterte’s presidency. The political dynasty has consistently availed of Quiboloy’s influence and dirty money over the years, from receiving tens of millions of pesos to beef up its election war chest to using the pastor’s private jet and other resources.
Quiboloy is an indispensable colluder in the EMC’s whole-of-nation and IP-centric approach to counterinsurgency, a page straight out of the US Central Intelligence Agency counterinsurgency guide in organizing and infiltrating religious organizations. He is a rabid counterrevolutionary, who built his religious enterprise Jesus Christ the Name Above Every Name by spewing anti-communist propaganda and religious obscurantism during Cory Aquino’s low-intensity conflict in several villages in Davao City, notably in Alsa-Masa areas such as “Nicaragdao.”
In the grand tradition of US right-wing millionaire televangelists, Quiboloy lives in his “prayer mountain” in Brgy. Tamayong in gaudy opulence, in a palatial mansion with large private cinemas, huge wellness spa, man-made parks and other extravagant amenities. It is being billed, ironically, as a tourist attraction, but which is no more than a shrine to the fruits of decades of swindle, coercion, modern-day slavery, and ethnocide. With considerable help from Duterte, he has branched out his business into other industries, and in recently years invested heavily in media and education to influence the cultural landscape in favor of fake news, religious fanaticism, right-wing rhetoric, fascism, counterinsurgency and anti-revolution.
For decades, only the revolutionary movement and the broad people’s protest movement have taken Quiboloy to task for his crimes against the masses. Units of the New People’s Army have carried out several tactical offensives against Quiboloy’s private goons and AFP troops assigned in the area. In early 2015, following several years of struggle and due to broad support from other sectors, families of the Bagobo Klata tribe were able to return to their ancestral domain and for a couple of years, cultivated the land for their livelihood, until AFP troops intervened on behalf of Quiboloy and drove away the masses again.
The recent sexual trafficking and the 2018 human trafficking cases lodged against Apolo Quiboloy is a mere tip of the iceberg. He must be forced to answer for his “original sin,” which formed the foundation of the recent cases: the crimes of landgrabbing and ethnocide against the peasant and Lumad masses of Davao City.
We enjoin human rights advocates and the broad democratic front to demand the impartial and Duterte-free investigation of Quiboloy’s crimes, abuses, business practices and estate. Most of all, we urge the Filipino masses, especially the revolutionary forces in Southern Mindanao, to ensure that Duterte, his political dynasty and the AFP will be served revolutionary justice for empowering and coddling a monster styling himself the appointed Son of God.