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Commander 'Toothpick' draws amulet hunters.

There's a disturbing reason some people wanted to visit the grave of Feliciano Luces in the public cemetery here.

They wanted to get relics from Luces, also known as Commander Toothpick, a fierce cult leader made infamous by his murderous rampage against Moro rebels in the 1970s.

Some people believed that bones from Luces, who was buried in the cemetery here in 1982, could be used as amulet.

On Thursday, at least three persons in their late 50s, came looking for Luces' grave here.

Hernan Dapudong, administrator of M'lang public cemetery, said several people who visited the graves of their loved ones here also asked him and other cemetery workers about the burial site of Luces.

Relocating bones

'They were looking for Luces' grave so they can ask his relatives if they could have some of his bones,' Dapudong said.

He said the three men who wanted to have part of Luces' bones came from as far as the the Surigao provinces.

The tomb of Luces and that of his wife, Norma, remained intact, though cemetery goers said these were already empty.

Dapudong would not confirm this, though.

He said the family was given ample time to relocate the bones since the local government would clear up the old cemetery and move the bones to a common grave.

Luces' wife, Norma, died of illness in 2004 while Luces was killed in a clash with gunmen in Upi, Maguindanao, in 1982.

Popular belief

Dapudong said many people believed Luces' bones could be an effective amulet since he wore such an amulet when he was still alive.

Elders said Luces appeared to be invincible to bullets because of the amulet after he withstood volleys of shots during several clashes with Moro gunmen in the 1970s.

They said Luces always came out of these clashes unscathed.

Armed with machetes and long firearms, Luces and his followers fought Moro rebels in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

He was last seen wearing a necklace that had dried ear as pendant.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 3, 2018
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