Senate panel to inspect alleged ‘mass graves’ in Sitio Kapihan
MANILA, Philippines — A senate panel will conduct an inspection at Sitio Kapihan on Saturday to scrutinize reports of alleged mass graves in the area, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa confirmed on Friday.
“Hindi naman tayo mag e-exhume, titingnan lang natin [ang] location at maginterview tayo [kung] sinu-sinong ipinaglilibing doon at [kung ano ang] mga circumstances surrounding [these] grave[s],” dela Rosa told Senate reporters in a phone interview.
(We will not exhume; we will only look at the location, and we will conduct interviews asking who is buried there and what the circumstances surrounding these graves are.)
Sitio Kapihan is an enclave in Socorro, Surigao del Norte, where the alleged religious cult Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) inhabits.
According to dela Rosa, they will only look into these “mass graves” reports and study if it requires further action. It will then be referred to the appropriate government agency if proven true.
However, according to the senator, if there are mass graves in the area, it is possible that “mysterious deaths” are happening among the members of SBSI.
“Yung circumstances behind the death of this people who are buried in a mass grave, titingnan natin if ‘yung pagkamatay nitong mga tao na ito ay natural,” said dela Rosa.
(We will look at the circumstances behind the death of these people who are buried in a mass grave if the cause of death was natural.)
SBSI is a religious organization headed by Jey Rence “Senior Agila” Quilario.
It has 3,650 members, including 1,587 minors, many of whom are reportedly subjected to forced sex, forced marriages, and forced labor, among other rights violations.