More witnesses lined up against cult leader

By: Intern May 15,2014 - 05:28 AM

Surprised witness Eleuterio Repuella testified against cult leader Casiano Apduhan at the sala of Judge Hermes Montero in Toledo City. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

More witnesses are lined up by the Cebu provincial government to build its case against cult leader Casiano “Tatay Loloy” Apduhan, Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said yesterday.

Magpale said the Philippine Women’s Commission (PWC) which she chairs will present a psychologist working at a public hospital in Cebu City as a second witness in the hearing which resumes today at the Toledo City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

She said the expert witness will explain the Stockholm Syndrome which they believe Emma Bocabal-Nepomuceno is afflicted with, after the woman denied being illegally detained for five years by Apduhan and even defended him in court.

Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological condition in which hostages develop positive feelings toward their captors over time, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying them.

Magpale said they are still trying to convince other witnesses to come out and testify.

“Our witnesses are afraid of retaliation. We are still assuring them that they will have police escorts,” the vice governor said.

Magpale told reporters the first witness, farmer Eleuterio Repuella, who testified against Apduhan last May 9, is under police protection.

“He is already afraid. That is why we hid him already,” she said.

While they are waiting for the Department of Justice to issue a witness protection order for Repuella, Magpale said they have placed him in a safehouse and provided food and security.

Apduhan is the leader of the “Dios Amahan” group in Buanoy, Balamban town. He faces charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal detention for allegedly detaining Nepomuceno in his villa for five years.

A March 24 raid by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the police resulted in the rescue of Nepomuceno and the discovery of skeletal remains of a 14-year-old boy in a tunnel under the house.

Apduhan has denied any hand in the death of the boy, Angelo Repuella, whose father says his son was “sacrificed” last year to help find gold. /by DM Lorena V. Narciso, Silliman University Intern

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