Family of 11 throw ‘lola’ into bonfire
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—An 84-year-old woman suffered severe injuries that led to her death after 11 people, mostly her children and grandchildren, threw her into a raging bonfire in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental.
The victim, Teofila Camungay Cabusas, a resident of Barangay Baliwagan, was brought to the hospital at 6 p.m. on Aug. 26 but passed away five hours later, Maj. Teodoro de Oro, Balingasag police chief, told the Inquirer, citing the local police report.
Of the 11 suspects composed of the victim’s four children, five grandchildren, her daughter’s live-in partner and his brother, only seven have been arrested so far.
According to Col. Gonzalo Villamor Jr., director of the Misamis Oriental Police Provincial Office, the arrested suspects were charged with parricide, defined as the killing of a parent or other near relative. A complaint was filed in the provincial prosecutor’s office on Aug. 30.
“Those charged with parricide were the victim’s immediate family members,” Villamor said in a phone interview the next day.
De Oro said that days before the crime, Cabusas received her P9,000 pension, but the suspects did not get what they believed to be their share of the money.
He also told reporters that among those arrested were Crisanto Ercilla, 22, one of the old woman’s grandchildren and the alleged leader of a yet-to-be-named cult based in the same town.
De Oro said Ercilla had been encouraging his grandmother to join his group, but the victim refused. She belonged to the religious group Philippine Benevolent Christian Missionary (PBCM).
Based on the testimonies of other suspects, Ercilla reportedly claimed that he was possessed by the spirit of Tomas Eugenio, the PBCM’s late founder.
The other suspects also said that Cabusas’ family blamed her for the family’s hardships, prompting them to burn her.
Villamor said there was no indication that the suspects were under the influence of drugs when they committed the crime.