Unexplained events

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    COMPANIES would ordinarily fire their erring employees involved in any criminal act and file the proper criminal charges against them. In-cahoots employers would keep them and file token administrative raps such as suspensions. The real shrewd bosses would fire the crooks but provide for a hefty sum that covers two lifetimes.

    But not Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who heads the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name whose three employees had been arrested last week in California by the FBI for human trafficking. Other arrests followed in several cities in the US as part of an ongoing probe on human trafficking and fund-raising scams. A lawyer for Mr. Quiboloy said the charges were a “grand conspiracy” meant to embarrass and shame him.

    This is the same “Appointed Son of God” – because no one else bears what the Catholic, Protestant and Born-Again communities have called a truly blasphemous title – who figured in the smuggling attempt of $350,000 in cash and rifle parts found in his private plane before it left Hawaii on February 13, 2019. He and his business manager, Felina Salinas, were detained by federal authorities. Mr. Quiboloy was released after a week while Salinas was arrested and remained in detention.

    Highly-paid lawyers could, of course, concoct incredible scenarios to be immensely persuasive in any high-profile case. It turned out that Mr. Quiboloy, owner of the aircraft and immediate boss of the employee, had been ignorant of the heist involving hundreds of thousand dollars and, yes, the business manager had acted alone.

    Mr. Quiboloy leads one of the largest religious congregations in the Philippines, and is a close friend of President Duterte. Since the smuggling try in Hawaii early last year, the President has stopped referring to him as his spiritual adviser.

    ***
    I wrote last week about President Duterte being bewildered by China suddenly faced with the new virus global outbreak threatening its lofty political, economic and industrial stature in the world. The series of strong earthquakes in Davao followed by the devastating Taal volcanic eruption and upended today by the rapid spread of the 2019 nCov should bother the President no end, not just over the demands on local and the national governments for relief, rehabilitation and ample and prompt medical response from public and private hospitals.

    Life’s unfortunate turn of events are not easily explained in the secular world. The Bible seems credible enough to be taken seriously as what the first President of the US, George Washington, did and declared that “it is not possible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

    Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both anguished but triumphant leaders in the two greatest wars in American history in which their armies had almost faced certain defeat.

    The Bible-reading Lincoln paid tribute to the Holy Book: “Take all of this book upon reason that you can and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. The Bible is the best gift God has given to man.”

    “Lincoln exhibited fully one of its grand truths on forgiveness when he refused to arrest and imprison the leadership and the military officers of the rebellious South.

    The Bible is similarly replete with episodes of God unleashing His wrath against those who despise or deny him. Numerous wicked and idolatrous kings of Israel in the Old Testament were either killed by their relatives or allies followed by a country ruined by war or pestilence. Psalm 97:4-6 warns “His lightnings light the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord… The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory.”

    The President is probably striving to cling to a philosophical view to convince himself that the heavens are not bearing down on him and on his hapless nation. He has ceased making insulting remarks against God and the century-old saying that “things happen for a reason” must have finally dawned on him.

    ***

    Sen. Manny Pacquiao has had his share of business and church problems. He avoided going public after losing nearly P20 million to his former pastor. As we know, the iconic boxer also turned pastor and has been preaching the Bible almost everywhere he goes. He has recently founded his own Born-Again Church In Mindanao. But Pacquiao remains mum on the details of his aborted evangelical partnership with the said pastor reportedly from Alabang whose church he used to regularly attend. The amount was just a drop in the bucket but Pacquioa could not help nursing his wounds caused by a mutual trust and friendship gone awry.

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