Cult leader gets 40 years for kidnapping

Philippine Star/August 18, 2007

A Marikina City judge sentenced a cult leader yesterday to 40 years' imprisonment for kidnapping and serious illegal detention of minor members of his congregation last year.

In his decision, Regional Trial Court Branch 273 Judge Manuel Quimbo said the convict, Antonio Dumala Faelnar, 56, pleaded guilty to the charge.

Faelnar heads the religious sect Global Empire Covenant of the Divine Government based in Barangay Marikina Heights, which has been operating for two years.

Marikina police chief Superintendent Sotero Ramos Jr. raided the cult's headquarters last Aug. 4, 2006 following reports that Faelnar is illegally detaining a number of minors in the area.

Court records show that complainant Jessie Carbonell, also a sect member, and his wife left the sect's compound sometime in July 2004, but left behind his minor sons.

However, when Carbonell returned to fetch his sons, Faelnar refused. The complainant recalled that while they were still staying in the compound, Faelnar prohibited them from leaving the premises.

Armed with a search warrant, Ramos was initially refused entry into the compound by Faelnar. However, the local police managed to sneak in and rescued not only Carbonell's children but several other minors found in the compound.

Police said they were able to rescue 15 children ranging from two to 15 years old, who later said Faelnar frequently sexually harassed them.

An adult member of the cult and two young girls filed rape charges against Faelnar, who allegedly convinced them to offer him their bodies as a form of sacrifice. The charges are still being heard in court.

Faelnar denied all the allegations against him, saying he is only sheltering minors from the provinces who had no place to stay in Manila.

Quimbo ordered that Faelnar be transferred to the Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa City to serve his sentence.

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