Mayor wants more police, military over threats from Surigao town ‘cult’
MANILA, Philippines — The mayor of Socorro town in Surigao del Norte on Monday called for more deployment of police and military personnel in the area, noting “a real threat and imminent danger of violence” from the “agitated” members of the alleged cult.
“I call on the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deploy additional augmentation forces to this island municipality,” Socorro town mayor Riza Rafonselle Timcang said in a statement.
Timcang’s appeal came as the Senate’s investigation into the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. is “fast approaching.”
Several media outlets reported the mass action of alleged cult members in Sitio Kapihan, opposing the Senate’s summons against their leader Jey Rence Quilario alias Senior Agila. The Senate is set to begin its investigation of the alleged cult on Thursday, September 28.
“Based on the events that transpired yesterday, Sunday, September 24, 2023, in front of the national television cameras and beamed around the world, there is a real threat and imminent danger of violence escalation from the agitated members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. who are living in Sitio Kapihan, Socorro, Surigao del Norte, which was heavily guarded for the past four years but opened to the media and other prominent guests just recently,” Timcang pointed out.
The local chief executive also urged the leaders of the group to “persuade your members to respect, by example, the rule of law.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros exposed the alleged cult-like schemes of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. in her privilege speech last September 18, saying the group victimizes minors by allegedly subjecting them to sexual violence, unwanted marriage, and forced labor.