Senate to look into ‘mass grave’ of alleged cult in Surigao

Senate to look into ‘mass grave’ of alleged cult in Surigao

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:05 AM October 14, 2023

Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela RosaRonald dela Rosa(Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela RosaRonald dela Rosa (Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa will be flying to Surigao del Norte province on Saturday to personally lead the search for a supposed mass grave of a group whose leaders were accused of forcing teenage girls to marry older men.

In a mobile phone interview, the chair of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee on Friday said he also wanted to directly speak with members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) to check on their situation.


Many SBSI members had refused to leave their enclave in an upland village in Socorro town even after their leader, Jey Rence Quilario, and three other officials of the group were detained at the Senate for allegedly lying during a Senate inquiry.


Witnesses had identified Quilario, known to his followers as “Senior Agila,” as the one who ordered girls as young as 12 years old to wed and have sexual intercourse with older male members of SBSI.

“We will not conduct exhumation. We will just check the location [of the alleged mass grave], ask who had been buried there and determine the circumstances surrounding that grave,” Dela Rosa said.

“If there’s really a mass grave … we will check the circumstances behind the deaths of those people who are buried [there],” he added.

Safety assured

Dela Rosa, who had presided over the Senate investigation of SBSI’s activities, noted that a former member of the group had previously told them that her father was buried in Sitio Kapihan, a protected forest area that the group had turned into their own community.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros had exposed the group’s activities, which she described as “deviant” and “cultish,” including the supposed training of young boys as child soldiers.

According to Dela Rosa, none of his colleagues will be able to join him during the scheduled daylong visit to the SBSI’s lair.


But the other senators had sent members of their staff to document the trip, he added.

Dela Rosa, a retired chief of the Philippine National Police, said the local police unit in Socorro had assured him that it was safe for him and the others to travel to Sitio Kapihan, located several kilometers away from the island town’s center.

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“I trust our local security forces there,” the senator said. INQ

TAGS: cult, Mass grave, Senate, Surigao

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