STILL WANTED. This file photo shows the ‘Wanted’ poster issued by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation last year for Kingdom of Jesus Christ church founder Apollo Quiboloy, who is facing sex trafficking and other charges in a California court.



A California judge has ordered the unsealing of the arrest warrants against Kingdom of Jesus Christ church founder Apollo Quiboloy and his co-accused, bringing the case a step closer toward extraditing the pastor, who is wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, a New York-based lawyer said.

Central District of California Judge Terry Hatter Jr. ordered the unsealing of the arrest warrants issued against Quiboloy and threeother accused for charges of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, coercion, sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and cash smuggling.

New York lawyer Lara Gregory told GMA Integrated News this could be the first step in initiating the extradition process for Quiboloy as the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) may now issue red notices against those covered by the arrest warrants.

“What happens is that the name of a person listed on a Red Notice is placed on a lookout list, and when the name of the person listed comes to the attention of law enforcement abroad, the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines will notify through Interpol, and the US Federal Prosecutor will then request that person’s provisional arrest and/or file a formal request for extradition,” Gregory said

At the Senate, two more senators signed a petition to reverse acommittee ruling to have Quiboloy arrested, after he was cited in contempt for failing to attend hearings on cases of human trafficking and sex-related offenses.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Christopher Go backed the petition pushed by Senator Robin Padilla and was earlier signed by Senator Imee Marcos.

Senator JV Ejercito also signed the petition but eventually withdrew his signature.

“Serious allegations of rape during the last committee hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality have prompted me to carefully review the facts, witness testimonies, and additional information,” Ejercito said in explaining his decision to withdraw his signature.

“Recently, I was also informed that the Department of Justice is already pursuing charges of sexual abuse and qualified trafficking versus Pastor Quiboloy… The public hearing of the Senate committee is a venue for the pastor to clear his name,” Ejercito added.

Committee chairperson Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday justice must be served for the women victim-survivors of Quiboloy.

“Speaking up about these abuses and their sufferings to seek justice is not easy. Let us show them that justice in this country can work for the most vulnerable,” she said.

Only a majority of the members of a Senate committee may reverse or modify a contempt order within seven days.

Other members of the Senate committee on women are Senators Pia Cayetano, Nancy Binay, Raffy Tulfo, Grace Poe, and Mark Villar.

Ex-officio members are Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III.

Quiboloy—who is at least 73 years old, according to the US FBI—was indicted in 2021 by US prosecutors who alleged, among other things, that girls and young women were coerced to have sex with him under threats of “eternal damnation.”

In a voice clip posted to the YouTube channel of his televisionnetwork Sonshine Media last month, Quiboloy announced he was in hiding because he was afraid he would be subjected to “kidnapping or assassination” by the US and Philippine governments.