Reports on ‘demonic’ cult spur evacuation in North Cot village

In a press statement, residents of Barangay Rodero in Makilala said that they left their farms and jobs after they sighted a number of hooded men roving during nighttime.

"We can't sleep. We can't go to our farms for fears these hooded men will get and kill us," they said.

Residents of Barangays Rodero, Kisante, Malasila, and New Bulatukan claimed they received reports that bonnet-wearing men are hunting down some 100 women as 'offering' to their 'supernatural leader'.

The women, they further claimed, would be mutilated after being raped by their 'leader' and their sex organs offered to their 'god' in a ritual slated next month.

But reports like this, according to Makilala Police chief Insp. Rommel Hojilla, are “baseless and unfounded".

Hojilla said that bonnet-wearing men, which villagers alleged were members of a demonic cult were actually workers of a banana plantation in Makilala.

"These men work at night. And because it's cold at night, they use bonnets," said Hojilla.

Senior Insp. Sherwin Butil, chief of Bansalan Police, also denied that a number of rape cases have been reported in his town since December last year.

"I don't know where the reports originated. A lot of media persons have asked me about that, and I'll repeat it again and again that that report is not true," he told MindaNews.

SPO3 Henry Diano, chief of Bansalan Police's intelligence division, has even shown reporters their logbook which showed that no rape cases have been reported in his town since November.

"If indeed there was a rape, it was not the making of a cult and we even arrested the suspect," said Diano.

But village chief Lutero Pampangan of Kisante said that they recorded six incidents where hooded men were monitored in his village from December 27 to January 4.

Two of these incidents were monitored in sitio Concepcion, two in Sitio Pangayasan, and two in Kalye Putol.

"Despite that, however, no abduction has been reported in my village," said Pampangan. (Malu Cadeliña Manar/MindaNews)