Police: Women victimized by Camiguin cult leader must come out and file charges

Sep. 28, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Following the arrest and filing of cases against a cult leader in Mambajao, Camiguin, a police official has called on other women Saturday who he may have sexually abused in the past to come forward and file appropriate charges against him.

Victims of sexual abuse by Patronilo Magallon are encouraged to approach the police so they can assist them in case-filing, said Capt. Arnold Gaabucayan, Mambajao municipal police chief.

“Do not hesitate to go to our office and file complaint,” Gaabucayan said.

Gaabucayan said they arrested Magallon, 75, the leader of the “Gamhanang Amahan” (Powerful Father) cult based in Barangay Anito, on Tuesday, September 24, based on a complaint filed by a young woman who alleged she was raped several times for years while she was living under the cult leader’s roof.

Gaabucayan said the complainant was just 13 when the suspect first raped her. She is now 21.

The suspect’s common-law wife Gloria Marimon was also arrested for allegedly acting as his accomplice.

Magallon will be facing six counts of rape and one count of serious illegal detention, while Marimon was charged with serious illegal detention.

“If you have been a victim of sexual abuse [by Magallon], do not hesitate to go to our office and file complaint,” Gaabucayan said.

He has assured complainants that they will be put under the Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program once charges have been filed against Magallon.

Based on the accuser’s testimony, it was in 2011 when Magallon first forced himself on her.

In 2014, the victim attempted to escape from the cult’s compound but was caught. After that, she was constantly guarded and was imprisoned inside a room for a month.

She was finally able to escape on May 20, 2019.

Gaabucayan said the victim went straight to a relative, a former member of the cult, who helped her lodge a complaint before the police and the provincial prosecutor.

Magallon denied raping the victim and said that he has an erectile dysfunction as his defense.

It was not immediately known how many members did the cult has, but Gaabucayan said most of them are related to Magallon.

He said some of them live in a compound where Magallon’s house, that also served as his church, is located.

“The cult is like a family group, although there are also members who are not related to Magallon,” Gaabucayan said.

He said Magallon was a former Roman Catholic lay minister, who used to assist the priest during holy mass.

“That is why he was able to quote the Bible and twist some passages to suit his agenda,” Gaabucayan said.

Since many of his believers are semi-literate, Gaabucayan said it was easy to make them believe whatever Magallon tells them.

There was a time, for instance, he said, that Magallon “predicted” that a tragedy will befall Camiguin, and that only his compound will be spared.

Camiguin has long been considered as one of the country’s premiere tourist destinations with its number of springs, falls, white sand beaches, dive spots, and other attractions.

In 2012, a flood hit four of the island-province’s towns — Mahinog, Guinsiliban, Sagay, Catarman — except Mambajao.

Gaabucayan said Magallon used that calamity to prove the point that he is a powerful god who can predict future events.

“He capitalized that situation and was able to convince his followers. And they believed him,” he said.

Gaabucayan said Magallon was able to control his members that even the victim’s mother sided with him. (davaotoday.com)

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