By UCA News
By Joseph Peter Calleja
(UCA News) — A controversial pastor in the Philippines facing sex trafficking charges in the United States has endorsed the candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter, in the upcoming presidential election.
Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo Quiboloy said Marcos and Duterte would win by a “landslide.”
“A lot of people are asking which candidates the Kingdom of Jesus Christ will support. I said, let’s wait for the right time. Now is the time to support the UniTeam of Senator Marcos and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte,” Quiboloy told a prayer rally in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao.
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is a religious sect founded by Quiboloy, whom its members believe to be the “appointed Son of God.”
Its members refer to their religious group as a “Kingdom Nation,” claiming they have more than 4 million members in the Philippines and 2 million abroad.
Known for block voting, politicians seek the blessing of Quiboloy to garner votes during elections.
In 2016, the group supported President Rodrigo Duterte. This time round Quiboloy has predicted victory for Marcos and Sara Duterte.
“I am telling you, this team will score a landslide victory in the coming elections. I am praying that we all join the UniTeam,” Quiboloy added.
Quiboloy’s support, however, drew flak from Catholic groups, saying he was a known Rodrigo Duterte ally and supporter of his war on illegal drugs.
“I cannot imagine a spiritual leader who approves killings. Any form of killing is against the will of God. It is only this spiritual leader who approves these killings and all the policies of Duterte,” Batangas parishioner Marvin Placido told UCA News.
He said Quiboloy has often supported politicians with “questionable” backgrounds such as former lawmaker Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing graft charges, and Duterte’s spokesman and lawyer Harry Roque.
“If we see the politicians he supports, they are from the political elites and have questionable reputations because of links to graft,” Placido said.
Meanwhile, an interfaith organization has called on lawmakers to investigate why it is taking the Commission on Elections so long to rule on an election disqualification case facing Marcos Jr.
The son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos risks being disqualified after several petitions challenging his eligibility were filed by opponents late last year.
They allege Marcos Jr. lied under oath when he filed his candidacy by saying he was not convicted of a crime.
Court records, however, revealed that Marcos Jr. was convicted in 1995 of not paying his taxes while serving as governor of Ilocos Norte province between 1982 and 1985.
A group called One Faith, One, Nation, One Voice urged lawmakers on Feb. 2 to help maintain the people’s trust in the election process, which was being put at risk by certain figures allegedly trying to delay the decision.
Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon recently revealed that a “powerful” senator has tried to influence the commissioners, thereby undermining the body’s independence.
The interfaith group supported Guanzon in her call to issue a ruling because “justice delayed is justice denied.”
“The main point at hand is the timely adjudication of the evidence and facts of a particular consolidated case seeking to disqualify Marcos Jr. from candidacy,” the group said.
“An undue delay puts the people’s hope and trust in the democratic processes of our nation at risk. The integrity of our democracy, and our people’s confidence in it, is on the line.”