Press Release
November 7, 2023

Hontiveros: Socorro cult tortured elderly former member


Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday presented a 79-year-old former member of Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI) during the continuation of the Senate hearing on the issues surrounding the alleged cult based in Sitio Kapihan, Socorro, Surigao del Norte.

The victim-survivor, named Pedrito Angcog, revealed that he was abducted and tortured by the Agilas, the private army of Senyor Agila, because he was accused of putting a hex on SBSI leader Mamerto Galanida. In 2022, early in the morning, several men with long firearms barged into his home, fired shots, and then tied a cord around him.

"Dumaplis sa tenga ko ang dalawang bala, dalawang putok. Tapos ginapos ako sa mga kamay ng lubid patalikod. Masikip sa buong katawan ko ... Pinatayo ako pero bago yun habang nakagapos ako na nakadapa, sinipa ako sa likod ... Tapos inapakan pa ako sa likod habang nakagapos," he shared in an interview with the office of the senator.

Angcog was then brought to Mamerto Galanida's house, where he was further beaten up by one Pedoy Buntad, the Agilas chief.

"Pagdating sa bahay ni board member [Mamerto], natutulala ako... Habang nakaupo at nakatulala, bigla akong sinuntok sa tagiliran ni Pedoy pati sa likod. Masakit ang tagiliran at likod ko. Tignan niyo mga braso ko, wala nang lakas epekto noon. Noong makalipas na araw, sobrang sakit ng tagiliran ko, umabot ng apat na araw," he further shared.

Hontiveros first filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 797 to investigate the cases of rape, sexual abuse, forced labor, and child marriage perpetrated by SBSI in their community of almost 4,000 people.

The senator said that Angcog's revelation is another clear and convincing evidence of the unacceptable abuse and exploitation that members of SBSI experienced at the hands of their own leaders.

"Bata man o matanda, walang pinipiling biktima itong mga lider ng kulto. Kailangan na nilang managot sa sankatutak na krimen na ginawa nila. It is with great relief that I welcome the Department of Justice's recent filing of charges against the SBSI leaders. They must pay for the torrent of suffering that they unleashed on the people of Kapihan," Hontiveros concluded.

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