THE Cebu Archdiocese will look into the allegedly demonic possessions of 12 inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) in the past two days.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, Archdiocesan media liaison officer, said that CPDRC's resident chaplain was tasked to investigate the matter as part of protocol.
The chaplain will then recommend a course of action to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
If necessary and Palma approves, an exorcist or a priest who has knowledge on how to cast out demons will be sent in.
But Tan said that the chaplain has to consider many factors that may have contributed to the erratic behavior of the detainees, such as possible psychological problems, illegal drug use, among others.
"Dili gyud matawag nga conclusive ang nahitabo didto sa CPDRC kay tan-awn pa nato ang background sa mga detainees (We cannot conclude that what happened in CPDRC was possession because we don't know the background of the detainees)," Tan added.
It started with just two female inmates acting wildly in their shared cell early dawn last Monday, said Capitol jail management consultant Marco Toral.
By 9 p.m., nine female detainees were already allegedly possessed. By Tuesday, three more were believed to be possessed by evil spirit including one male inmate.
Toral said the first inmates who went berserk were Geraldine Demecillo, an inmate for a year and seven months; and Marites Avila, a three-month resident.
Demecillo, who is detained for drugs, insisted that the coconut crab that she failed to return to the cave in Sogod is the reason why spirits are bothering her.
At 11 a.m. yesterday, male inmate Marvin Narte, 23, started acting violently.
Last night, Toral said that inmates Demecillo and Lovely Ann Comaling were still seemingly possessed while the other 10 were already back in their cells.
“Nagkisi-kisi, gipaningot ug puti ang mata ug ang tingog lalaki (They were struggling violently, soaked in sweat, delirious, and had deep voices),” Toral described what he saw from the inmates.
One female inmate even tried to bite the left middle finger of a male inmate who tried to subdue her.
Three priests already visited the 12 inmates. Fr. Rey Cue, Fr. Rogelio Bag-ao and a certain Fr. Nacional separately prayed over the hysterical inmates.
Cue returned yesterday.
Also yesterday, three doctors from the Provincial Health Office and another from the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center checked the inmates.
Toral said that CPDRC in-house doctor Cristina Giango told him that depression mixed with “kabuhi” or upset stomach triggered the ailment, coupled with the vulnerability of the women.
Giango believes spiritual and psychological activities are needed for the inmates, one of which is prayer.
Gov. Hilario Davide III said he will ask jail officials for their recommendations on how to improve CPDRC conditions.