FOR the daughters of alleged cult leader Casiano Apduhan, life away from their father for three months was difficult.
“We are trying to cope with this ordeal,” said Cristille Marie.
Apduhan has been behind bars since his arrest last March 26 by the operatives of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 in Balamban for allegedly detaining Emma Bocabal Nepomuceno.
His arraignment was supposed to happen yesterday morning, but it was reset to Aug. 12 after his lawyer Danilo Yap failed to show up in court. Nepomuceno was not present in
Cristille wanted the arraignment this month, but her request was not granted by the court.
Apduhan’s eldest child, Seanrez, said they cannot get justice in the country.
“Ang gipangbuhat sa mga tawo namo puro injustice in a way nga murag gidula-dulaan mi (We felt we are being played around),” she said. “We are not that perfect. We commit mistakes too, but we cannot kill a person and I can assure we are not a cult.”
Yap, for his part, said he understands the frustration of the family members wanting to fast-track the case. He said he has another hearing, which was scheduled by a court in Cebu City earlier than the arraignment.
“We’re confident about the innocence of my client, given the evidence and the denial of the alleged kidnap victim,” he said.
Last June 15, Father’s Day, she said her family went to Toledo City Jail to celebrate
“Dad said nga dili siya pa-greet kay to be honest he’s not happy,” said Seanrez.
Apduhan denied he detained Bocabal, who executed an affidavit and testified in court that she voluntarily went to his house in Barangay Buanoy. He also denied he is a cult leader.
Apduhan is facing trial before Toledo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 for serious illegal detention case.
The other complaints (murder and violations of anti-human trafficking and anti-child laws) are still pending for resolution before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.
Apduhan was accused of killing a 14-year-old boy, which he also denied.
When asked about the resetting of his arraignment, Apduhan told reporters he can do nothing about it.
“I don’t have my lawyer right now,” he said.
The family, through Yap, tried to free Apduhan by filing a motion that sought to determine if there was enough evidence to indict the accused with a prayer to dismiss the case.
But RTC Branch 59 Judge Hermes Montero denied the motion for lack of merit.
He said it is not “prudent” for the court to dismiss the case based on the affidavit of denial of serious illegal detention and the testimony of Emma Bocabal Nepomuceno, saying “the quantum of evidence required is much lower or lesser than proof beyond reasonable doubt.”
In the arraignment, Apduhan’s youngest daughter, Catherine, said they requested the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to assist her father, but they were refused because they already have a lawyer.
“We have no idea about the law,” she said.
Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) consultant Heddah Largo said they are still building up the case against Apduhan, but she refused to elaborate.
She said Apduhan has the right to refused arraignment because his counsel was not present.
The prosecution did not object the rescheduling of the arraignment because it was the first time the accused requested for it, she said.