Dela Rosa believes someone else might be controlling ‘Socorro cult’ leader
MANILA, Philippines — Somebody else might be controlling alleged cult leader Jey Rence Quilario, who seemed unable to answer lawmakers’ queries during the upper chamber’s probe on the case, according to Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
“Initial assessment ko lang ‘yon, di ko alam kung nag drama drama lang siya pero sa nakikita ko mukhang somebody is controlling from behind kung sino itong somebody na ito or maybe some others [di natin alam],” dela Rosa said in an ambush interview.
(That’s my initial assessment. I don’t know if he’s acting ignorant, but from what I see, somebody is controlling from behind. But we don’t know who is this somebody or maybe some others.)
Earlier during the hearing, lawmakers, notably Senator Risa Hontiveros, observed how Quilario would usually request another member, Mamerto Galanida, who previously served as the Socorro mayor and board member of Surigao del Norte, to answer questions related to Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc.
Dela Rosa believes Quilario, otherwise known as “Senior Agila,” is just a “figurehead” used by another person or other leaders for his alleged “miraculous power” to gain followers and entice potential members to Sitio Kapihan — their community.
The senator was referring to a witness’ sworn statement, describing how Quilario could stop the rain, make a bird sing, and change or contort his voice, imitating an old lady and man, as well as someone who speaks “katsila” — a Bisaya term for Spanish.
Dela Rosa explained this alleged power might have been instrumental in convincing 38 teachers to leave their jobs and join the community, as well as police officers, who also became members to serve him.
Although he suspects someone else is behind Quilario, Dela Rosa said the leader should still be held liable for the accusations against him.
“Liable pa rin siya dahil wala naman iba tinuturo mga bata as far as forced marriages are concerned siya ang nag-pa-pair. Ikaw ikaw mag asawa na kayo, pasok na kayo sa kwarto, o ikaw pwede mo na rape-in yan dahil asawa mo na yan. Siya ang tinuturo,” the senator said.
(He is still liable because all the kids point to him regarding forced marriages. He pairs them, telling members to marry, sleep together, or rape their spouses. They all point to him.)
Last September 18, Hontiveros initially bared the activities of the SBSI, raising the plight of young members who were allegedly subjected to sexual violence and coerced to marry adults.
Her exposé eventually led to the upper chamber’s probe into the group to save the children following dela Rosa’s filing of a separate resolution calling for an investigation.