Lorenzana says rape claims are ‘fake news’
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said claims that soldiers had threatened to rape women were a “serious matter” and demanded that the militant Gabriela partylist, which made the allegation, to produce evidence and file the proper charges.
“I don’t want to dismiss this allegation if only it were done the proper way – inform us so that we can address it instead of going immediately to the media,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“This allegation is very serious and I myself will do everything in my power to punish those who committed it whether in jest only as it objectifies and degrades women in general. These acts if true goes against the Filipinos’ deep-seated respect for our mothers, sisters and womenfolk in general,” he added.
He said the allegation was “fake news” meant only to “find fault” in the action of the troops in Marawi.
The women’s partylist decried Lorenzana’s statement, saying that Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas herself heard such accounts from Maranao women who fled the fighting in Marawi City.
“The fact that there were women in Marawi who complained of rape threats, regardless if they are substantial in number or not, should be enough cause for alarm especially in view of AFP’s record of abuses against women,” the group said in a statement.
The statement said this was the reason Gabriela filed House Resolution 1085 last week, urging lawmakers to look into the crisis with “particular emphasis on the impacts on women and children.”
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