Filipino grave robber steals kneecaps from dead people for 'spiritual protection'

A Filipino medicine man has revealed how he raids cemeteries to steal the knee caps of dead people which then give him 'spiritual protection'.

Angelito Oreta, who was interviewed on February 18, trawls the public cemeteries around his home in Muntinlupa, on the outskirts of Manila, the Philippines, to plunder the freshly-dug graves.

Rather than stealing valuables, Angelito and his devotees 'knee-cap' the stiff corpses and use scalpels to extract the patellas.

Medicine man Angelito, 55, then soaks the bones in coconut oil for several days to remove the skin while offering ''prayers and devotion'' to the spirits of their previous owners.

Followers believe that the blessed knee caps act like ''guardian angels'', giving them protection from thieves and attackers in the country's drug-war ravaged slums.

Angelito, who admits that the practice is illegal, said: ''They are the knee caps of the deceased. We get them from the public cemeteries, of course.

''We don't know who they belong to. They're from different people. They are not my relatives but I offer prayers to them. They could protect my family.''

Angelito also claimed that the spirits of the dead people who the knee caps once belonged to act as guardian angels because: ''You are feeding them with prayers.''