‘Cult leader brainwashed my sister’

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

THE sister of Emma Bocabal believed the latter was brainwashed into believing that alleged cult leader Casiano Apduhan can heal the sick.

Bocabal, 33, told the court last Tuesday that she voluntarily went to Apduhan and lived in his house in Balamban, Cebu for more than five years. She said she believes in Apduhan as her god.

Apduhan is facing a serious illegal detention charge before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 in Toledo City for allegedly keeping Bocabal against her will.


Gina Bocabal Baflor, 41, said her younger sister confided to her that Apduhan annointed her to turn her into a “holy woman” and one of 13 gods and goddesses.


Baflor said Emma would help pray over and prepare medicines for the sick.

“Pasuwaton pud daw siya og pangaliya sa papel nga ibutang sa tubig ug kon imnon ni sa masakiton mamaayo daw (She was asked to write a prayer on paper, which is submerged in water and given to the sick to drink),” she said.

Apduhan's daughter, Seanrez, said she does not know what Baflor is talking about.

“Ilaha pud nang opinion so let's just respect that (That’s their opinion, let’s just respect that),” she said. She added that Bacabal would know the truth.

The hearing on Apduhan's motion for judicial determination of probable cause will resume today. His lawyer, Danilo Yap, wants the court to dismiss the serious illegal detention case against him, citing there is not enough evidence following Bocabal’s testimony.


The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 and the Provincial Women's Commission (PWC) arrested Apduhan and rescued Bocabal at the alleged cult leader’s house in Barangay Buanoy, Balamban last March 26.

A witness said he met Bocabal and they became close during their stay at Apduhan’s residence. He said Bocabal stayed in a room on the ground floor of the house, which Apduhan forbade anyone to enter.

Yap said Bocabal’s rescue was prompted by a letter from Bocabal’s mother to Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale. He said the letter “ascribes no clear, categorical and definite insinuation of alleged kidnapping, abduction or wrongful detention committed or known to be committed equally by any person or group of persons against her daughter.

The prosecution says Bocabal is suffering from Stockholm syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that makes her feel sympathy toward her alleged captor. It plans to present a psychologist as a witness in today's hearing.

Stockholm syndrome

Dr. Rene Obra, a psychiatrist, said over radio dyHP that Stockholm syndrome is not a mental illness.

Obra, head of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for Behavorial Sciences, said being sympathetic to a captor could be a way for a captive to survive.

Baflor said her sister was depressed after discovering that her husband had a child with another woman. Bocabal and her husband were childless.

Baflor said she noticed bruises on Bocabal’s body after she was rescued from the ah Apduhan household but the latter denied she was raped.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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