DOJ ends Surigao del Norte ‘cult’ Probe

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
DOJ ends Surigao del Norte �cult� Probe
Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) leader Jey Rence Quilario alias Senior Agila and three other members were escorted by the Senate security group as they attended a hearing at the Department of Justice on October 20, 2023.
Facebook / Senate of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has concluded its preliminary investigation on the criminal complaints filed against 13 members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI), an alleged cult in Surigao del Norte.

DOJ Undersecretary Mico Clavano said the panel of prosecutors submitted the case for resolution, adding that efforts are underway to resolve the case ”as expeditiously as possible.”

Clavano said both the complainants and respondent appeared during the preliminary investigation.

The accused presented their supplemental affidavits, which were affirmed by their witnesses.

The complainants filed a manifestation to be able to present additional evidence to support their request for the issuance of a precautionary hold departure order against the accused.

Hillary Reserva, counsel for the respondents, opposed the motion and manifestation of the complainants.

Jey Rence Quilario or Senior Agila and Mamerto Galanida, SBSI vice president, are among those facing charges.

SBSI members Karren Sanico, Jr., Janeth Ajoc, Wenefredo Buntad, Giovanni Lasala, Ibrahim Adlao, Jovelito Atchecoso, Sergio Cubillan, Daryl Buntad, Jonry Elandag, Yure Gary Portilio and Florencio Quiban were included in the charge sheets.

The complaints filed against the SBSI members are qualified trafficking, kidnapping and serious illegal detention as well as violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said about 19 children were found to be in common-law marriages with adult members of the SBSI.

The SBSI members were also accused of child abuse and rape.

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