Leader of Cebu cult posts bail on adultery charges

CEBU — A leader of a local cult called “Salva Me Pater Omnis Oculus Meus” was arrested last Friday on adultery charges but he was later freed after posting P12,000 bail.

Judge Donato Navarro of Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 6 issued an arrest warrant for cult leader Alfredo Verano after a man accused him of having four children with his wife. The couple are both members of the Salva Me cult.

Verano was turned over to the court last Friday afternoon but he immediately posted bail. He will be arraigned on Oct. 4.

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Having been away from the country for several years, the accuser said he has reasons to believe that his wife has four children by Verano.

A cult member has issued an affidavit in favor of the accuser, saying Verano had an affair with his wife. Verano, however, earlier denied having any romantic relationship with the woman.

Navarro said Verano will be given a chance to refute the allegations against him during the trial.

The cult, whose name means “Father, save us from all our offenses‚” hogged the headlines in January last year when about 150 residents of Barangay Buhisan filed a petition demanding that the cult be banished from their community.

The cult was accused of engaging in illegal treasure hunting, and Verano was alleged to be treating his female members as sex slaves.

At the height of the controversy, the Department of Social Welfare and Development took custody of about 20 children who lived with the cult after they were found lacking in nutrition, education and proper hygiene.

Verano, called “Daddy Divine” by his followers, founded the religious cult in Banawa in 1994 and later transferred to Sitio Nazareth in Barangay Buhisan in 1998.

Verano lived in Banawa in the 1980s where he worked for the military, giving them information on the activities of New People’s Army rebels operating in the mountain barangays of Cebu.

When the cult moved to Sitio Nazareth, they settled in caves, some of them original dugouts of Japanese soldiers during World War II.

The cult members believe that the caves will provide them safe refuge when “the heavens rain fire and brimstone,” signaling the end of the world.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Freeman News Service, Philippines
Aug. 9, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday August 8, 2004.
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