human trafficking

Señor Aguila, other Socorro ‘cult’ leaders arrested for alleged human rights abuses

Bonz Magsambol

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Señor Aguila, other Socorro ‘cult’ leaders arrested for alleged human rights abuses

ARRESTED. Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation arrest Jey Rence Quilario, also known as Señor Aguila, and other key persons of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc., at the Senate on November 7.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'Bilang na ang mga araw ng mga nagdidiyos-diyosan,' says Senator Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday, November 7, arrested “cult” leader Jey Rence “Señor Aguila” Quilario and other members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI) for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, and human rights abuses.

Quilario and fellow SBSI leaders Mamerto Galanida, Karen Sanico Jr., and Janeth Ajoc were arrested after the Senate conducted its final hearing on the alleged SBSI abuses.

The four SBSI leaders, who had been cited in contempt for repeatedly denying the allegations during the Senate probe, had been detained in the Senate for 40 days before they were turned over to the NBI.

“I would like to advise the sergeant-at-arms to coordinate with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation regarding their custody. You turn over the custody of these persons to the authorities,” said Senator Ronald Bato dela Rosa as he adjourned the hearing of the Senate committee on public order.

Dela Rosa, as panel chairman, had visited the Sitio Kapihan in Socorro, Surigao del Norte, in October. After his visit to the area where SBSI is based, Dela Rosa said that he was convinced that the group was indeed a cult.

Señor Aguila, other Socorro ‘cult’ leaders arrested for alleged human rights abuses

The arrest of the SBSI leaders came after prosecutors filed 21 cases for qualified trafficking in person, facilitation of child marriages, and solemnization of child marriages, and child abuse on Monday, November 6, before the Dapa, Surigao del Norte Regional Trial Court Branch 31.

Charged together with the four leaders were eight more SBSI members. The NBI will also facilitate the arrest of the following:

  • Giovanni Leogin Lasala
  • Ibrahim Adlao
  • Jovelito Atchecoso
  • Sergio Cubillan
  • Daryl Buntad
  • Jonry Elandag
  • Yure Gary Portillo
  • Florencio Quiban   

Senator Risa Hontiveros thanked the Department of Justice for the agency’s swift action on the case.

“I thank the Department of Justice for their expeditious investigation on the issue. It was only last September that I delivered my privilege speech exposing the cult’s vile and harmful practices, and less than two months later, the culprits are already facing charges in court and warrants of arrest have been issued against 13 individuals,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Bilang na ang mga araw ng mga nagdidiyos-diyosan (The days of those acting like god are numbered). Senyor Agila, Mamerto Galanida, and their ilk, if convicted, deserve to go to jail,” she added.

Quilario and his group gained notoriety after Hontiveros exposed their alleged abusive cult practices in Sitio Kapihan, Barangay Sering, Socorro town in Surigao del Norte. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    A similar appreciation with that of Sen. Hontiveros to the DOJ. Indeed, if convicted, the days are numbered for the child-eating eagle of Surigao del Norte. How about that of the virgin-eating eagle of Davao City?

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.