After months of investigation, the Department of Agrarian Reform has filed criminal charges against international television evangelist Apollo Quiboloy over the allegedly illegal conversion of a prime agricultural lot into a multimillion-peso prayer complex.
The affidavit of DAR provincial agrarian reform officer Ronaldo Orig was forwarded yesterday to the City Prosecution Office.
Orig said Quiboloy, head of the Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name, illegally converted about nine hectares of prime agricultural land in Tamayong, Calinan into a “Millennial City Complex” without securing the required Order of Conversion from DAR.
He demanded that Quiboloy be litigated for four counts of violating R.A. 8435, otherwise known as the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997, for converting four separate but adjacent lands.
In the two-page complaint, the DAR official said Quiboloy’s group owns four parcels of land in Tamayong. But without securing the needed requirement from DAR, Quiboloy constructed buildings, fences, and other infrastructure projects in his properties, Orig said.
Moreover, he said Quiboloy has prematurely converted the land from agricultural to non-agricultural uses. R.A. 8435 states that premature conversion of agricultural land is the undertaking of any development activity which modifies the physical characteristic of the agricultural lands to render them suitable for non-agricultural purposes without an approved order of conversion from the agrarian reform officials.
The DAR official said a violator could be jailed for six years and/or a fine of equivalent to 100 percent of the government’s investment cost, and an accessory penalty of forfeiture of the land and any improvement thereof.
Quiboloy allegedly developed the land late last year for the reported international millennium gathering of Quiboloy’s followers held last January.
The church leader developed the land without applying a building permit. He later applied for a building permit when his case became a media fanfare.
But the city government rejected his application for a building permit due to lack of zoning, location, and re-classification clearances.
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