Complaint filed vs leaders of Surigao religious cult
MANILA, Philippines — A complaint has been filed against leaders of the alleged religious “cult” Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Surigao del Norte, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Mico Clavano, spokesperson for the DOJ, said the NBI recommended in June the filing of a complaint against several individuals, including the alleged cult leader Jey Rence Quilario, also known as Senior Agila.
He said the complaint was filed for alleged violation of qualified trafficking, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention, the Act Prohibiting the Practice of Child Marriage, and the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.“No preliminary investigation has been done yet because of the motion for prosecutors to inhibit,” Clavano said.
According to him, they are looking at the possibility of transferring the case to the DOJ.
Apart from the NBI, Socorro town Mayor Riza Rafonselle Taruc-Timcang and Social Welfare and Development officer Chien Cen Dizon stood as complainants against the respondents.
The religious cult has attracted the attention of the Senate because of its disturbing activities. Its leaders were accused of sexually abusing children, operating an illegal drug laboratory, and sowing fear among residents of Socorro town.
In a privilege speech on Monday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged her colleagues to look into the operations of Socorro Bayanihan Services after receiving complaints that the group was involved in child marriage, which had been outlawed with the passage of Republic Act No. 11596 last year.
“This is a harrowing story of rape, sexual violence, child abuse and forced marriage perpetrated on minors by a cult,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros said the group’s leaders, Jey Rence Quilario and Karren Sanico, had been collecting money from thousands of their members, many of them beneficiaries of the monthly cash aid from the government.
“We need to save those children. It is our duty not just as senators, but also as parents and as human beings, to save children in most need of our help,” she said.
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