Dela Rosa convinced Socorro group is a cult, ‘Senior Agila’ only a figurehead

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — Sen. Bato dela Rosa, one of the lawmakers who led the first Senate hearing into the controversial Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI), said it is clear the group now operates as a cult and its real leaders are hiding behind Jey Rence Quilario, also known as Senior Agila.

Klaro diyan nakikita natin the group started as a legitimate people's organization…that slowly nag-transform into a cult. Per definition of a cult 'yung blind obedience, strong reverence to a single personality ay nage-exist sa grupo na ‘yan,” he told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Friday.

[Translation: It is clear there we can see that the group started as a legitimate people's organization that slowly transformed into a cult. Per definition of a cult, blind obedience, strong reverence to a single personality exist in that group.]

The Senate on Thursday held its first hearing on the alleged cult accused of trafficking, kidnapping, sexually abusing children, training children as soldiers, and practicing child marriages. Alleged victims who were present claimed they were forced by their “God” to participate in the activities and to obey its laws to “enter heaven.:

Dela Rosa, a former national police chief, believes the victims, many of whom are minors, have no reason to lie.

“You can just imagine, babae...12 years old ay walang rason 'yan na magsabi ng, to the point na i-expose pa nila 'yung…paninira ng kanilang uri, sa kanilang pagkababae, 'yung about rape and about forced sex, forced marriages,” the senator pointed out.

[Translation: You can just imagine, a girl, 12 years old has no reason to speak to the point of exposing the defiling of their honor, of their womanhood, those about rape and about forced sex, forced marriages.]

Dela Rosa also said the people behind Quilario, the alleged leader of the group, are the ones who are really in control of the organization.

“Ginagamit lang s'ya doon na simbolo, ginamit 'yung kanyang pagpo-possess ng divine powers kuno to command adherence and loyalty from the subjects,” the senator said.

[Translation: He is just being used as a symbol, his alleged possession of divine powers is being used to command adherence and loyalty from the subjects.]

Dela Rosa said the 22-year-old Quilario was even asking for mercy during the hearing on Thursday, claiming that he lacks education.

In a separate interview, Task Force Kapihan spokesperson Ed Sangco said SBSI Vice President Mamerto Galanida is the group’s best orator and is able to convince members into thinking that the object they are seeing is white when in reality it is red.

Aside from Galanida and other SBSI leaders Janeth Ajoc, and Karren Sanico Jr., there are still others behind the organization who are dictating to Quilario, Dela Rosa noted.

Citing testimonies of witnesses, Dela Rosa said a private army is also indeed being maintained by SBSI.

It was revealed by Jeng Plaza, Quilario’s cook and a former member of their army, during the Senate inquiry that members as young as six and seven years old were grouped together and trained to join the soldiers in the barracks.

The SBSI’s soldiers are being deployed around the community to guard the area, Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa said the order to detain Qulario, Galanida, Ajoc, and Sanico will remain. The Senate will also work with law enforcers to ensure the safe conduct of the next hearing, which will be held in Socorro, he added.