Rape victim gets backing vs former vice mayor
SAN JOSE CITY—Members of the Gabriela party-list group on Thursday rallied behind a woman who testified in court that she had allegedly been raped by former Pantabangan Vice Mayor Romeo Borja Jr. since she was 17.
Borja was arrested in March and had been detained here since on rape charges filed in 2013 by the woman, a former maid of the vice mayor. The victim, now 22, has been under the custody of Gabriela, whose members gathered here to give their support.
Taking the witness stand for the first time since the trial began in June, the victim identified Borja as the man who had raped her repeatedly since she was 17.
Borja faces 10 counts of statutory rape of a minor and 12 counts of rape for the years when the victim was of legal age. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The victim claimed that she was abused from 2009 to 2011 but she filed the charges only recently because she was being threatened by the accused, according to her lawyer, Minerva Lopez.
Assisted by Lopez, the victim recounted details of the abuse, beginning with the first sexual encounter that allegedly took place in Borja’s home.
But Regional Trial Court Judge Maximo Ancheta Jr. stopped the hearing after 30 minutes when the victim wept uncontrollably and could no longer continue her testimony. The judge set the next trial on Dec. 11.
Borja sat motionless in court while the victim gave her testimony. Anselmo Roque, Inquirer Central Luzon
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