Socorro task force: More members of alleged cult seen to leave community after detention of leaders

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — More members of the alleged cult in Socorro are seen to leave their community in the mountains of Surigao del Norte following developments in the Senate hearing on Sept. 28, a spokesperson of the task force formed by the local government unit said.

"Maraming nagsabi na pag madetine yang kinikilala nilang mga leaders don bababa na sila so malaki talagang epekto kasi nakikita ng mga members nila na hindi pala totoo yung mga sinasabi nila," Task Force Kapihan spokesperson Ed Sangco told CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday.

During the Senate's first hearing on alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc., lawmakers cited in contempt and detained SBSI leaders Jey Rence Quilario, Mamerto Galanida, Janeth Ajoc, and Karren Sanico Jr.

The group is accused of trafficking, kidnapping, sexually abusing children, training children as soldiers, and practicing child marriages.

READ: Socorro 'cult' victims tell stories of ‘authorized’ rape, 6-year-old soldiers, laws to ‘enter heaven'

Sangco said the hearing held can be considered a victory for the victims who have revealed the alleged cult's activities. He claimed that there are still others who are being threatened to prevent them from testifying against the organization.

The task force hopes that following the recent hearing, more alleged victims will come out. Sangco said that after Thursday's Senate inquiry, a video was sent to him showing the conduct of child marriage and child labor in SBSI.

Sen. Bato dela Rosa said on Thursday the next probe into SBSI will be held in the group's base in Socorro town. There is still no specific date yet as lawmakers continue deliberations for the 2024 budget, he told CNN Philippines.