Alleged Socorro cult leader, officials ordered arrested
MANILA, Philippines — Warrants of arrest have been issued against the leader and other officials of the alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI) in Socorro, Surigao del Norte.
The order came from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday.
The warrants stem from 21 criminal charges filed against SBSI leader Jey Rence Quilario, or “Senior Agila,” and 12 other SBSI officials at the Surigao Del Norte regional trial court.
According to Justice Undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty, the charges included nine counts for qualified trafficking in persons, eight for child abuse, and four counts for facilitation of child marriage.
“This is just the beginning. The 21 charges were only limited to the initial allegations made in Surigao, as well as the additional allegations brought upon by the previous hearing,” said Ty.
Ty made the statement during a hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on SBSI.
“So, clearly, there are other incidents we could look into – the children who died in childbirth, as well as the abuse of the senior citizen who testified earlier,” he said.
“Our task force will look into those as well,” he added.
As a reaction to Ty’s statements, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa ordered the Senate Sergeant at Arms to coordinate with the Philippine National Police and NBI in the turnover of the respondents’ custody.
Quilario and other SBSI officials Mamerto Galanida, Janeth Ajoc, and Karren Sanico were previously held in contempt by the Senate for evading questions during a joint Senate panel investigation on September 28.
The contempt order, however, was lifted after Dela Rosa acknowledged receipt of the warrants of arrest from the court.