Press Release
September 19, 2023

Hontiveros seeks investigation to stop child rape, child marriages in Surigao

Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 797, seeking to investigate the cases of rape, sexual abuse, forced labor, and child marriage perpetrated by an alleged cult in Socorro, Surigao del Norte.

The reported cult, identified as the Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI), now popularly known as Omega de Salonera, has been made to believe that one Jey Rence Quilario is the Messiah. The organization now has 3,650 members, including 1,587 children, based in an enclosed and heavily guarded area on a mountain known as Sitio Kapihan in the municipality of Socorro.

"Nakakakilabot ang nabuong kulto sa Surigao. Pero mas nakakakilabot at nakakagalit ang mga kaso ng panggagahasa, pananakit, at pilit na pagkakasal na ginawa sa mga menor de edad. We must put an end to this. As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women and Children, and as a mother, I ask us not to allow this monstrosity to continue," Hontiveros said.

PSR No. 797 states that according to direct and first-hand testimonies, Quilario, also known as Senior Agila, would engage in acts of sexual abuse and violence against minors, including ordering children to sleep with him, facilitating marriages of children as young as 12 years old with adults, and locking adolescents in rooms in order for them to engage in sexual activities, among others.

"Last July, eight children ran away from the cult after repeated instances of abuse and exploitation. These children are in grave and present danger. Makapangyarihan at may impluwensya ang kulto. Ginagawa nila ngayon ang lahat para makuha mula sa LGU at DSWD ang mga bata. The children's parents, who are still part of the cult, are asked to file petitions for habeas corpus, in order to recover the minors from the local government," Hontiveros shared.

"Ang malala, nagtagumpay na sila sa isang bata at plano nilang isa-isahin ang mga nakatakas na bata hangga't sa bumalik sa kulto. Ang mga bata na po mismo ang nagmamakaawa na huwag na silang ibalik doon. Bakit nga naman nilang gugustuhing bumalik sa isang komunidad, sa isang lider na nanloloko, nanggagahasa, at nananakit sa kanila?" the senator added.

Hontiveros also revealed that the minor and adult members of the cult were made to perform acts of forced labor under pain of physical punishment, and were also forced to surrender 40-60% of their social welfare benefits, such as 4Ps, senior citizen pensions, TUPAD, and AICS, to Quilario.

"This sorcery should be stopped. Pati pera ng taumbayan napupunta sa kulto. Isang malaking scammer itong si Senior Agila. Huwag nating hayaang ipagkait niya sa libo-libong mga bata ang kanilang mga pangarap at kinabukasan. We need to save those children now," Hontiveros concluded.

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