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9月29日のまにら新聞から

Three minors recount experiences under alleged cult in Surigao del Norte

[ 283 words|2023.9.29|英字 (English) ]

Three minors wearing hoodies and sunglasses, appeared before the Senate, tearfully recounting their experiences before escaping from an alleged cult based in Surigao del Norte.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality investigated the religious group Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) which was accused of committing various crimes against minors such as rape, forced child marriages and requiring them to undergo military-like training.

SBSI is led by Jey Rence Quilaro, also known as Senior Aguila.

Even as the children testified that they were compelled to marry and have sex as well as participate in military exercises, high-ranking members of the group denied accusations.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced that they had filed 12 charges against the officials of the group including violence against women and children (VAWC), adultery, trafficking, and obstruction.

One said that former policemen supervised the military training.

The young witnesses were given aliases to protect their identities.

Senator Risa Hontiveros asked the leaders of SBSI if they had really conducted child marriages.

“As far as I know, I am not aware of anything like that happening in Kapihan,” said Mamerto Galanida, who serves as Quilario’s consultant.

“We have information that you have two grandchildren who married minors in Kapihan. Are you also denying this?” Hontiveros pressed.

“What I can say is that there are no child marriages ... But there are minors whom we cannot stop. They have pre-marital engagement,” Galanida replied.

Noting that they answered evasively, Hontiveros moved to cite Quilario and two others, in contempt.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa carried the motion and ordered the Senate sergeant-at-arms to take custody of the accused. Jaspearl Tan/DMS