Bilibid’s new low: Inmate caught about to rape child in chapel toilet
Days after heads rolled at the New Bilibid Prison (NPB) over the discovery of high-living inmates, one of its low-lives put the national penitentiary back in the headlines.
In an attack perpetrated by one of the prisoners, an 8-year-old girl was found unconscious, stripped of her underwear and with a rope around her neck inside the toilet of the maximum security compound where she visited her father on New Year’s Day.
NBP officer in charge Superintendent Richard Schwarzkopf said a medico-legal report showed that the victim—one of the minors who came to see their imprisoned parents for the holiday—had strangulation marks but was not raped.
The girl, who was later revived in a hospital, was set to undergo stress debriefing and a second medical exam ordered by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Schwarzkopf told the Inquirer on Friday.
An inmate identified as Norvin Domingo confessed to the “attempted rape,” but only after the girl and another inmate pointed to him as the perpetrator, the official said.
Citing the accounts of two other prisoners, Schwarzkopf said Domingo and the girl were earlier seen entering the toilet of the MSC chapel together in the afternoon of Jan. 1, and that he was about to rape her when one of the witnesses also entered.
Based on NBP records, Domingo shares the same cell with the victim’s father as they are both members of the Bahala Na gang.
Domingo, a robbery convict, has been serving time in Bilibid since July 2012. Prior to their transfer to the NBP in Muntinlupa City, he and the girl’s father had been cell mates in Baguio City, Schwarzkopf said.
Asked how Domingo managed to take the child inside the toilet despite being under close watch by security officers in the MSC, Schwarzkopf conceded that it would be hard for them to check the prisoners’ every move since the compound is “like an open community.”
He also noted that on New Year’s Day, there was a program and parlor games for visiting children at the maximum security compound. “We learned that another child invited the victim to roam around the compound and that her parents gave their permission,” he added.
After the girl failed to return, her worried parents started looking for her around 2 p.m. Two hours later, an inmate reported finding an unconscious child inside the chapel’s toilet.
The girl was brought to a hospital outside Bilibid where she was revived and examined. As she was deeply “traumatized” by the incident, Schwarzkopf said the second medical exam ordered by De Lima, to be facilitated by the NBI, would check again for signs of rape.
“There is no evident genital injury and laceration at the time of the (first) medical examination,” he said.
A team from the Department of Social Welfare and Development has offered to debrief the child to help in her recovery.
A case for attempted rape and child abuse would be filed against Domingo, but it may be upgraded to rape depending on the results of the second test.
Domingo has since been moved to what the NBP called a “preventive cell.” In an interview with Inquirer.net, Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu said his visiting privileges had also been canceled.
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