Quiboloy’s Church Issuing US Visa?

By Fernan J. Angeles

 

THE Federal Bureau of Investigation may have uncovered a dubious scheme that sees Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s religious sect into a lucrative business offering an express visa to the United States using their controversial church as conduit.

In a news article which appeared in a Manila-based major daily, the FBI was reported to be in the middle of an investigation on the local chapter of Quiboloy’s church, Kingdom of Jesus Christ, on what appears to be an in-house “immigration bureau”.

The news article specifically cited the FBI is intently looking for evidence that would pin down the religious group for human trafficking.

 

Trapped

The probe is focused on the church’s business manager, Felina Salinas, who was arrested by federal authorities last month on allegations of trying to smuggle $350,000 in cash out of the US, according to a report by Hawaii News Now. 

Salinas was arrested on a plane leased by Quiboloy, a Filipino televangelist and friend of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

Shortly after Salinas’ arrest, an agent from the FBI’s Los Angeles office spent several days here pursuing the trafficking angle, according to sources of Hawaii News Now.

In 2015, Salinas was arrested for allegedly assaulting a fellow church member, who claimed she was forced to raise money. Experts said this raises the human trafficking angle. 

Salinas’ attorney said the allegations had no merit. 

Some people who have come to the US on religious worker visas have been trapped in similar situations before.

 

Missionary or Peddler?

In a separate news article posted by Hawaii News, documents -- which the newspaper claims to have obtained -- on Salinas’ previous arrest under the state’s open records law, showed Quiboloy’s “friend” have sneaked in one Kristina Angeles (not related to the writer) to Hawaii in 2014, Angeles was allegedly forced to work to raise funds for their church.

In those documents, the alleged victim and former church member (Kristina Angeles) claim she came to Hawaii in October 2014 on a missionary visa. 

Within days, she claimed, she was put to work on church fundraisers selling manapua and Krispy Kreme donuts for hours, “rain or shine.”

 

Aggressive Fundraising

Consumers have accused the church’s charity, the Children’s Joy Foundation, of aggressive fundraising and even misrepresentation. 

Young church members are often seen selling baked goods at the Kapolei Costco and near White Plains Beach.

In her police statement, Angeles wrote that if church members didn’t sell enough, they were punished.

“We’ve been slapped or yelled at. The last time, I … received punches over my arms and legs,” she wrote.

Angeles ran away in 2015 but the church immediately filed a missing person’s report. 

 

Retaliation Charges

And shortly after that, another church member, a 15-year-old, filed charges against Angeles, saying the latter sexually assaulted her.

Angeles’ lawyer called the charges retaliation.

Trial was supposed to start next month in that case but was postponed after Salinas’ recent arrest.

Knowingly, or otherwise, whatever Salinas did -- regardless if she did it for the love of her church -- is a reflection of Quiboloy’s leadership and that of his Church.

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Monday, 10 December 2018
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