Follower turns against Balamban ‘cult leader’

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

FARMER Eleuterio Repuela left his house and sold his livestock in Barangay Alpaco, City of Naga because he was convinced by cult leader Casiano “Tatay Boy” Apduhan that the world would end in 2013.

He believed Apduhan is his god and savior. But yesterday morning at the Regional Trial Court Branch 59 in Toledo City, Repuela turned against Apduhan.

He was the first witness of the prosecution in the serious illegal detention case against Apduhan.


Apduhan allegedly detained Emma Bocabal Nepomuceno, 31, in his house in Buanoy, Balamban for more than five years.

“In 2011, Tatay Boy told us the world would end in 2013. Those who will follow him will be saved,” said Repuela in a sworn statement.


He sold two cows for P25,000, gave the money to Apduhan and tilled the cult leader’s farm, located about two kilometers from the latter’s villa in Barangay Buanoy, Balamban.

“We were serving Tatay Boy day and night without salary,” he said.

The remains of Repuela’s son Angelo were found by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 and the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) in a tunnel at Apduhan’s property on March 26, the same day that they rescued Nepomuceno.

The NBI filed a murder complaint against Apduhan for allegedly killing Angelo.

Repuela said he saw Nepomuceno in Apduhan’s villa and never saw her get out. He said he heard her crying several times while he was making hollow blocks outside the villa.

He stated in his testimony that he believed Apduhan detained Nepomuceno but he did not say if the woman was locked inside one of the rooms.


Nepomuceno denied in her sworn statement that she was detained by Apduhan.

She said she willingly approached Apduhan and stayed in his house.

Judge Hermes Montero of RTC Branch 59 heard the motion for judicial determination of probable cause filed by Apduhan's lawyer, Danilo Yap.

Yap wants the serious illegal detention case against his client dismissed.

“All the legal grounds to sustain this case have been effectively demolished by the alleged victim herself,” he said after the hearing.

When Yap asked Repuela to identify Nepomuceno among the audience during the hearing, the latter hesitated and then pointed at another woman.

Sun.Star Cebu saw Apduhan smile on seeing this. Nepomuceno later stood up.

Yap then asked Repuela in English if a staff from the Department of Social Welfare and Development coached him with his answers in his sworn statement and the witness nodded.


PWC consultant Heddah Largo said in an interview that Repuela may have misunderstood Yap's question because the farmer did not finish grade one.

She said Repuela has been consistent in his testimony that he saw Nepomuceno inside the house.

The prosecution's second witness is a psychologist but was not presented yesterday because the transcript of the hearing will be released on Monday yet.

Largo said the psychologist will discuss Stockholm syndrome, a condition that the prosecution believes is being experienced by Nepomuceno.

Stockholm syndrome refers to a condition where a captive feels sympathy towards the captor. The term was derived from an incident in August 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden where a robber detained four bank employees for more than 130 hours. (KAL)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 10, 2014.

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