Execs of Jesus Christ Followers to undergo psychiatric testing

NEARLY a month after the bloody raid at their school compound the controversial Jesus Christ Followers (JCF) would be subjected to a psychiatric examination to determine their mental competence.

Lawyer James K. Judith made the disclosure in Tuesday's phone interview saying that he would file a motion for this in a hearing scheduled on Feb. 28 at the Regional Trial Court Branch 1.

"As lawyer for them I would move for the suspension of the proceedings against them in order to subject them to a psychiatric examination so we could determine whether they comprehend the situation they are in," he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

He said he didn't attend last Monday's hearing for the cases lodged against the JCF officials but added that he received reports that one of the JCF officials named Rhapsody Dacudao insisted that they don't need legal representation.

"She told the court supposedly that she and the others would be represented by one of their own, Rha Dacudao. But I would still insist on the psychiatric examinations especially on Rhapsody," Judith said.

According to him he talked with the husband of JCF school administrator Emelinda Tiongco about this matter. "He and Mrs. Tiongco appear to be the most level-headed of the lot," he said.

Judith disclosed that originally the plan was to have Rhapsody undergo the psychiatric examinations alone but he re-considered and said the tests would have to be done on all 17 JCF officials.

If the court approves, Judith said he intends to have the JCF officials and teachers undergo psychiatric examinations at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).

Judith said if the psychiatric examinations showed that they suffer from schizophrenia there is a strong possibility that the charges against them would be dropped and they would be committed to an institution.

When asked whether he expects to be rejected by JCF officials Judith said he is prepared for the worst and he will attend the Feb. 28 hearing this coming Monday.

"Right now this psychiatric examination is the best legal remedy. One has already seen how they react (towards authority) and even if they protest it had to be done. While we are seeking justice for them we also must consider their welfare," he said.

Last January's raid at the JCF compound resulted in several police officers getting injured. Authorities and former JCF students claimed that school administrators brainwashed the students into rebelling against parents and authority figures.