A 50 year-old Kapolei woman was arrested by federal agents today after allegedly helping a Philippines-based church with operations in Waipahu secure passports and funnel money to church leaders as part of an elaborate sex and labor trafficking scheme.
A superseding indictment unsealed in California today charged the founder and administrators of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC) with running a sex trafficking operation that threatened girls and women with “eternal damnation” if they did not have sex with the church’s leader, Apollo Carreon Quiboloy, who was referred to as “The Appointed Son of God,” according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Quiboloy, believed to be 71, whose primary residence is a KOJC compound in Davao City, Philippines, also maintained large residences in Calabasas, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Kapolei, according to officials.
Felina Salinas, also known as “Sis Eng Eng,” of Kapolei allegedly was responsible for collecting and securing passports and other documents from KOJC workers in Hawaii, as well as directing funds solicited to church members to church officials in the Philippines. She was one of six people, including Quiboloy, named in the superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury Nov. 10.
Salinas and two others were arrested today and the remaining three, including Quiboloy, are believed to be in the Philippines.
In January 2020, a 42 count indictment charged nine people with participating in a labor trafficking scheme that brought KOJC faithful to the U.S. with fraudulently obtained visas, and forced the members to solicit donations for a bogus charity, the Children’s Joy Foundation, according to the news release.
DOJ alleges those donations paid for the church and the “lavish lifestyles” of church leaders.
Members who proved successful at raising money were forced into sham marriages or coerced to obtain fraudulent student visas to continue soliciting in the United States year-round, according to DOJ.
KOJC claims a following of more than 6 million people and backed the 2016 candidacy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a close friend of Quiboloy, according to a January 2020 Associated Press report out of Manila. Duterte appeared in the KOJC’s radio and TV program in Davao when he was mayor of the southern port city.
Quiboloy claimed he stopped a major earthquake from hitting the southern Philippines in 2019, the AP reported.
The other defendants charged in the superseding indictment are:
>> Teresita Tolibas Dandan, also known as “Tessie” and “Sis Ting,” 59, of Davao City, who was the “international administrator” and one of the top overseers of KOJC and CJF operations in the United States;
>> Helen Panilag, 56, of Davao City, the one-time top KOJC administrator in the U.S., who oversaw the collection of financial data from KOJC operations around the globe;
>> Guia Cabactulan, 61, the lead KOJC administrator in the U.S. who operated the KOJC compound in Van Nuys, Calif.;
>> Marissa Duenas, 43, a Van Nuys-based administrator who handled fraudulent immigration documents for workers;
>> Amanda Estopare, 50, another Van Nuys-based administrator who was in charge of tracking and reporting the money raised in the U.S. to KOJC officials in the Philippines;
>> Bettina Padilla Roces, also known as “Kuki,” 48, a fourth administrator who allegedly handled financial matters and was arrested today in Reseda in California; and
>> Maria De Leon, 72, a resident of the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, the owner of Liberty Legal Document Services, who allegedly processed fraudulent marriages and immigration-related documents for KOJC workers. She was also arrested today at her residence.
The federal investigation is ongoing and being run by the the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Fraud Detection and National Security Unit, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and IRS Criminal Investigation.