Teen: ‘Socorro cult’ compel marriage, sex with adults ‘to go to heaven’
MANILA, Philippines — Underage members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) are allegedly being forced to marry and have sex with adult partners because it is supposedly a “rule to go to heaven.”
This system is allegedly being spearheaded by “Senior Agila” whose real name is Jey Rence Quilario, leader of the Surigao del Norte-based “cult,” according to a 15-year-old former member.
Jane (not her real name) recalled before lawmakers during a Senate probe on Thursday that she went through it last year. At 14 years old, she said, she was coerced to marry and sleep with an 18-year-old man she never met. She also said it was Quilario who matched them.
Jane said their community secretary would make a list of single members with girls as young as 12 years old and boys at least 18. From the list, Quilario would pick “the pair approved by god.”
With the help of her legal counsel-translator, Ruth Restauro, the Bisaya-speaking teenager explained: “Si Senior Agila ang nagpapares na ikaw paired ka dito. Hindi pwedeng humindi dahil diyos daw ang nagsasabi na ‘yun ang pares.”
(Senior Aguila is the one who chooses the pair. You can’t say no because they say god said that should be the pair.)
Jane continued to reveal during the public hearing that Quilario required every member to have a partner and to have sex with that partner after marriage because it is one of SBSI’s laws to be able secure a spot in heaven.
“After sa kasal kailangan sila magsiping sabi daw ni Jay Rence. [Sabi sa lalake] authorized [sya] kunin or i-rape ‘yong wife dahil [mag-asawa] naman kayo. Kailangan makuha sila in three days otherwise they will be called na nag ‘adios’,” the teenager said in Bisaya, as translated by her lawyer.
(Jay Rence said that after the wedding they have to copulate. [The man is told that] he is authorized to take or rape [the] wife because [they] are [husband and wife]. The girls should have sex with the boy in three days or else they will be called “adios.”)
Jane further disclosed that Quilario likens Sitio Kapihan – sort of an enclave where the alleged cult members inhabit – to Noah’s ark where creatures or animals must enter in pairs.
Senator Risa Hontiveros asked the young girl what happens to an SBSI member who committed “adios.” Jane said they are meted with various punishments which would depend on Quilario’s order. The punishments may include being hit with a paddle or locked in the so-called fox hole, among others.
Jane said Quilario spins a roulette of punishments to determine the penalty for disobedient members.
Hontiveros initially bared the activities of the SBSI last September 18, raising the plight of young members who were allegedly subjected to sexual violence and coerced to marry adults.
She eventually rallied her colleagues to conduct a probe into the activities of the SBSI in order to save the children. Senator Ronald dela Rosa also filed a separate resolution calling for an investigation.