‘Cult leader’ pleads not guilty to illegal detention, possession-A A +A
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
BEFORE he was arraigned yesterday morning, alleged cult leader Casiano Apduhan was all smiles to his daughter and wife inside the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 in Toledo City.
He even let his fellow inmate at the Toledo City Jail massage the lower portion of his left arm.
Apduhan, sporting a short hairstyle, looked serious while the court clerk read the cases against him.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges of serious illegal detention and illegal possession of firearms.
Last March 26, operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 arrested Apduhan inside his villa in Barangay Buanoy, Balamban and rescued Emma Bocabal Nepomuceno.
The Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) and police also took part in the operation.
Nepomuceno and her mother were present during the proceeding yesterday. She earlier denied she was illegally detained by Apduhan in her affidavit and testimony during the hearing of Apduhan’s motion for judicial determination of probable cause.
No interview, please
PWC consultant Heddah Largo said it is Apduhan’s right to enter a not-guilty plea, saying the court still has to resolve the cases.
“He has to prove that in court,” she said. “Let the court decide on the case.”
After the arraignment, Apduhan was escorted by his new lawyer to the vehicle of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. He refused to be interviewed by reporters.
His new lawyer, who replaced Atty. Danilo Yap, also refused to be interviewed, saying he does not discuss his client’s case in public.
In an earlier interview, Apduhan denied detaining Nepomuceno.
Nepomuceno had told the court that she voluntarily went to his house after she felt disappointed by her family for not helping her with her marital problems.
Apduhan is also facing murder and violations of anti-human trafficking and anti-child abuse laws before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.
He was also accused of killing a 14-year-old boy, which he denied. He said the boy was ill when his parents brought him to his villa in 2012.
Apduhan said the father buried the boy in his residence while he was in Negros.
He also denied committing human trafficking, saying he didn’t force his followers to go to his residence and surrender their possessions.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.