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CHILDREN IN TROUBLE

Girl raped by minors; no charges readied

/ 09:11 AM June 07, 2012

The Capitol voiced alarm over a report about a 9-year-old girl molested by five underage boys in a southwestern town in Cebu.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who chairs the Provincial Women’s Commission, said they are handling intervention of the case, which occurred last May 10, barely a year after a cyberpornography case broke out in Cordova town.

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The boys are the girl’s neighbors aged 15, 13 and 11 years old and two 12-year-olds.

While no criminal charges can be filed against the boys due to their minor age, proper intervention will be done such as counseling and support for the victim, said Magpale.

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Cases of children doing violence to other children are delicate to handle, and involve juvenile justice laws that declare minors 15 years old and younger to be free of criminal liability.

In rural areas, where services of child psychologists or trauma experts are not available, the victims and the perpetrators, with their families are often left to cope on their own.

Magpale told reporters that she will meet with the parents of the five children to deal with them. She said the 9-year-old girl is safe and staying with her parents but hasn’t gone to school yet although classes resumed last Monday.

She asked to keep the name of the town confidential.

PO2 Marithel Fernandez of the town police’s women’s desk told reporters the abuse happened last May 10.

She said the girl told them that she swam in the beach and went to a nearby small hut where she was molested.

Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) officer Marivic Garces said the PWC will really coordinate with the town and barangay officials and the parents.

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The PWC is also in the forefront of the cybersex case uncovered last year in Cordova town, where two parents were arrested for using their young children to pose naked in front of web cameras in a home-based online pornography service.

The vice governor said the PWC, which is testifying in the ongoing trial before the Mandaue Regional Trial Court, will present the final two witnesses, including an officer of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Magpale said they expect the case to be resolved within the year after the last two witnesses for the prosecution testify.

“This is very difficult for me. Conviction would mean the lifetime imprisonment of both parents, but we have to seek justice. I hope they will be convicted,” Magpale said.

Charges of qualified trafficking and child abuse were filed against the couple who were arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas in a raid at home last June 1, 2011.

Based on the NBI-7 investigation, the couple maintained two Yahoo Messenger accounts that they used to contact foreign clients and charge fees.

The children were placed under DSWD-7’s custody a few hours after the raid.

Their parents are detained at the Lapu-Lapu City Jail since qualified trafficking case is a non bailable offense. Both accused entered a “not guilty” plea when they were arraigned before Lapu-Lapu City RTC Judge Toribio Quiwag last year.

The mother, who was pregnant during the raid, gave birth to her sixth child in November last year. The baby was then taken under custody upon the advice of doctors. A legal guardian has not yet been identified.

Magpale said the children were enrolled in a regular school. They are still housed in a center and remain under the custody of the PWC.

The children are still long for their parents, Magpale said.

The case was transferred to the RTC Mandaue City following a Supreme Court order referring all cases originating in Cordova town to be referred to the RTC in Mandaue City.

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TAGS: Crime, juvenile delinquency, Molestation, Rape
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