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Who is Pastor Apollo Quiboloy?

By Jeffrey M. Tupas
Inquirer Mindanao
First Posted 03:07:00 02/16/2010

Filed Under: People, Cults & sects, Religion & Belief, Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010

DAVAO CITY?Pastor Apollo Quiboloy claims he was in bed shortly before the 2004 presidential election when ?all of a sudden I saw a vision.? In the vision, he saw Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?s face on the cover of a magazine.

It was ?God?s will? that Quiboloy support her bid for the presidency, according to a video produced by the Sonshine Media Network International, media outfit of a religious group Quiboloy has founded.

Today, with the next presidential election barely three months away, Quiboloy is perhaps the most sought-after political endorser in this part of the country.

Candidates are trooping to the religious group?s sprawling compound at the foot of Mt. Apo to seek the blessings of the man who claims to be the ?Appointed Son of God.? He also claims 6 million followers and owns his own cable TV company, a string of radio stations and two newspapers.

The name of Quiboloy?s religious group is enough to evoke awe?Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name.

According to a member of the group, all presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance at a presidential forum to be hosted by the group on March 9 at his 9-hectare compound called ?Prayer Mountain.?

Administration candidate Gilbert ?Gibo? Teodoro seems to have already got a head-start.

Quiboloy hosted a three-hour lunch meeting at the community?s exclusive Victoria?s Restaurant with the Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer on Feb. 11, complete with a pray-over.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer was invited to the meeting.

Like Disneyland

Inside the high-walled compound, Quiboloy held court in the restaurant, which features on its chocolate walls dozens of framed photographs of Quiboloy with former presidents, presidential candidates, senators, Cabinet secretaries and high military officials.

?Anybody who has the noble intention of serving the country is welcome (here),? he said.

Quiboloy took his guests on a tour of Prayer Mountain.

Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez, walking down its perfectly manicured lawns, said: ?It?s like Disneyland no? Perfect!?

The compound, surrounded by banana and pineapple plantations, is staffed by hundreds of workers. Armed guards secure the place.

Inside the compound is Quiboloy?s pastoral mansion. Beside it is what is considered the holiest spot in the place?the prayer house.

Meters away are three pastel-colored ?Millennial Houses? which are occupied by workers. There are also two guest houses.

Living myths

Prayer Mountain is actually Quiboloy?s birthplace.

Quiboloy is the youngest of the nine children of Jose Quiboloy and Maria Carreon, who migrated to Davao from Lubao, Pampanga, in the 1940s.

On April 25, Quiboloy will turn 60.

Around that time, according to a staffer, the National Geographic Channel will be coming out with a feature on Quiboloy and the kingdom he founded on Sept. 1, 1985. Previously, he was a preacher of the United Pentecostal Church.

Stories about the difficulties Quiboloy reportedly surmounted to establish the Kingdom are something like living myths in the community. It includes how he rented buses that often broke down in the middle of craggy roads just to reach the remote villages of Davao.

He only had 15 followers then.

?Kingdom Nation?

A favorite story is how Pastor Apollo survived on bananas for five years.

It?s a different story now.

Quiboloy?s kingdom can now afford to buy cars?a number of them luxury vehicles. It has also invested in the media, starting with the Sonshine FreeTV Channel 35 in 2005. There are 17 Sonshine radio stations in the Philippines now.

The sect also has two newspapers: Pinas and Sikat. The former is said to be an internationally circulated weekly for followers in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

His followers refer to their community as a ?Kingdom Nation.? They claim about 2 million ?Kingdom citizens? abroad and 4 million in the country.

On weekdays, members hold bible sessions and prayer services. On Sundays, a ?Global Worship? is held at the Kingdom?s Cathedral in Buhangin District.

They get their funds from members? tithes representing 10 percent of their incomes.

In 2000, Quiboloy established Jose Maria College, named after his parents.

Divine guidance

Quiboloy has never been married. He has no children.

?We are his children,? said a compound worker.

Quiboloy said God wants the country to be led by someone with a heart for the people and the country.

?I am a spiritual leader,? he said. ?I take my guidance from the Lord although personally, I have my preference. But because I am holding millions of members who want my guidance, I do not want to commit a mistake. The Lord knows. He puts one down while He puts another up.?

?It was not the people who made GMA president. It was really God in heaven who made her the president using the people,? he said.

Even though he has already prayed over Gibo, this was not yet an official endorsement, he stressed.

For that, Quiboloy awaits the ?vision.?



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