Watch on 'cult' ordered

Sun.Star - Cebu/June 4, 2004
By Mia E. Abellana & Rene H. Martel

A village chief wants the Sagrada Corazon-Dios Amahan "disbanded" following the fatal shooting of one of its members, while the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Cebu City wants religious gatherings in mountain areas monitored.

Babag 2 Barangay Captain Rodolfo Mabini said he does not want another violent incident in his area and vowed to discourage anybody who wants to join the group.

Mabini admitted he could not infringe on the residents' rights to peaceful assembly and to practice their own religion. But he will do his best to ask them not to gather as a group.

"They can pray in their own homes. No one is stopping them from doing that," he said.

Can't stop

Cebu City Councilor Eugenio Faelnar, ABC president, said he told his tanod coordinator, Arturo Sayson, Wednesday evening to visit the city's 26 mountain barangays.

"We can't stop cults from existing. But to be sure, our tanods must be around until members of religious groups are done with their activities," he said.

Sabino Baculi, who claimed to be the Sagrada-Corazon's founder, sees nothing wrong with their activities. He resented the term cult used to describe them because they are practicing the Catholic faith.

At 6 p.m. until 7 p.m., the group prays the Apostle's Creed, three Our Fathers and one Hail Mary.

Then they break into song and say their personal intentions.

They also kneel on the ground with arms outstretched for about 30 minutes.

"Wa ko kasabot anang kulto. Kung kulto man gani nang pag-ampo, aw kulto tingali ko (I don't understand what they mean by cult. If praying means being in a cult, then I'm a cult member)," he said.

Since their prayers consisted of songs, Sabino said they may have to make some changes so as not to disturb the members of the community.

God in a dream

He said that last Dec. 30, God came to him in a dream and told him to guide the people to pray and give thanks to him.

He organized the prayer group on New Year's Day, starting with members of his family.

He admitted he and his sister Daria Gonzales had a fight last Saturday after she told the people of Sitio Bay-ang it was she who received the spirit of Dios Amahan and that they should believe her instead of Sabino.

It was Daria who told residents of Sitio Bay-ang that a huge flood would wash away the world and spare only her house.

The flood was supposed to come at 9:30 a.m. last Saturday. Until Saturday night, members of Sagrada Corazon-Dios Amahan waited until they retreated to their homes.

Member Danilo Taburnal, 31, said that after Daria's prediction failed, he no longer believed in her. However, he continues praying for the world's salvation and defending the group.

"Wala mi gipugos og apil, wala sad mi gipaamot. Naga-ampo ra gyud mi (We are not forced to join. We are not asked for contributions. We just pray)," he said.

Members of the Homicide Section went to the area to look for witnesses in the throwing of two children outside the window and to see to it that there is no more tension among residents. Police found Boy Bonghanoy, who had rescued the twin daughters of Daria's sister Divina Baculi and Victor Ministerio.

Lupong Tagapamayapa member Roelito Dungog fatally shot Daria's husband Raymundo in a scuffle while trying to rescue Divina's twin daughters.

Raymundo and Daria reportedly held hostage the two three-month-old girls.

It was Bonghanoy who saw Daria throw the children out her window after they reportedly "grew horns and were possessed by evil spirits."

The Homicide Section is studying the filing of child abuse charges against Daria.

But the parents of the four children whom Daria and Raymundo allegedly held hostage and threw out the window are no longer interested in prosecuting Daria.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 will take custody of the children who were traumatized by the incident.

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