CHR to probe slay of 15-year-old rape victim in Ilocos Sur
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is poised to launch an independent investigation on the killing of a 15-year old girl, who was allegedly molested and shot by police officers in Ilocos Sur.
According to CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia, their office in Ilocos Region will be spearheading the probe to ensure that justice will be served.
Reports indicate that the teen was killed after she filed a rape complaint against a police officer of the San Juan Municipal Police Station. The victim was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding suspects – allegedly the policeman facing complaint and his colleague – last Thursday night.
“Our concerned Regional Office in Region I shall be conducting an independent probe in pursuit of justice for the aggrieved and her family and loved ones,” De Guia said in a statement.
“We reiterate our call to all concerned agencies of the government to ensure the safety of women and children in full compliance with international and domestic laws and standards. Primarily, proactive women and child protection measures and services must remain operational and strengthened during this period of heightened vulnerability,” she added.
On July 6, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they have already filed murder complaints against Staff Sergeants Randy Ramos and Marawi Torda, both accused of killing the teenager.
Reports from the Cabugao police showed that the victim and her cousin were arrested for supposedly violating quarantine regulations, and “were very drunk when the two policemen allegedly took advantage of them.”
In a statement, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa has condemned the incident, saying the suspects do not deserve to be called police officers. CHR lauded the quick action from the police force, as the two policemen have been relieved and placed under investigation.
CHR said this incident highlights the vulnerability of women and children to such abuses, especially during the quarantine periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Children and women’s rights advocates predicted that gender-based violence would increase during the lockdown, as people are forced to stay at home, heightening the chance for domestic abuse.
Based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s report to Congress, some 3,600 cases of violence against women and children have been filed in various Women’s Protection Desks since community quarantines were imposed in mid-March up to June. CHR, however, believes the actual number could be way higher.
“This experience again puts into light the vulnerability of women and children to gender-based violence, especially during the pandemic. Many of stories remain unreported until we hear their horrors of struggles out in the open,” De Guia said.
“The [PNP’s] Women Children Protection Center records 804 reported cases gender-based violence and violence against women and children from 15 March to 30 April 2020. However, because of the hidden nature of these [acts of violence] at home, the actual number of cases might be higher,” she added.
Aside from CHR and PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation is also expected to conduct an investigation on the killing of the 15-year-old girl upon the request of Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Singson. (With reports from Jim Mendoza, Trainee)
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