Sen. Bato dela Rosa, one of the lawmakers who led the first Senate hearing into the controversial Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc. (SBSI), said it is clear the group now operates as a cult and its real leaders are hiding behind Jey Rence Quilario, also known as Senior Agila.

“Klaro diyan nakikita natin the group started as a legitimate people’s organization… that slowly nag-transform into a cult. Per definition of a cult ‘yung blind obedience, strong reverence to a single personality ay nage-exist sa grupo na ‘yan,” he told CNN Philippines.

The Senate on Thursday held its first hearing on the alleged cult accused of trafficking, kidnapping, sexually abusing children, training children as soldiers, and practicing child marriages.

Alleged victims who were present claimed they were forced by their “God” to participate in the activities and to obey its laws to “enter heaven.:

“You can just imagine, babae… 12 years old ay walang rason ‘yan na magsabi ng… to the point na i-expose pa nila ‘yung… paninira ng kanilang uri, sa kanilang pagkababae, ‘yung about rape and about forced sex, forced marriages,” the senator pointed out.

Dela Rosa also said the people behind Quilario, the alleged leader of the group, are the ones who are really in control of the organization.

“Ginagamit lang s’ya doon na simbolo, ginamit ‘yung kanyang pagpo-possess ng divine powers kuno to command adherence and loyalty from the subjects,” the senator said.