Philippines’ Pacquiao sues influential evangelist over graft accusation

MANILA (Reuters) – Fighter Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday demanded libel a prominent star evangelist followed by countless Filipinos, after he implicated the eight-division world champ of embezzling funds planned for a $70 million sports complex.

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a self-proclaimed “Owner of the Universe” and “Appointed Son of God”, is a long time pal and spiritual consultant of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, with whom Pacquiao has actually just recently locked horns.

The popular Pacquiao is thinking about running for president next year and has actually declared corruption in Duterte’s federal government and criticised his cosy relationship with China

“He used this deliberate falsehood to brainwash the minds of the Filipino public,” Pacquiao stated of Quiboloy, in revealing his suit looking for $2 million in damages.

Church leaders are extremely prominent in Philippine elections and their recommendations can be worth a substantial variety of votes.

Quiboloy’s group, Kingdom of Jesus Christ, states it has at least 4 million fans in the Philippines and another 2 million overseas.

Calls to Quiboloy’s church and messages to the group’s Facebook and websites were unanswered. His workplace stated he would react in his tv program later Tuesday.

Pacquiao, a senator, leads a competing faction in the judgment political celebration that did not back Duterte’s quote to run for vice president in 2022. Duterte is avoided by the constitution from running for a 2nd term as president.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Modifying by Martin Petty and Alex Richardson)

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.