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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Rosalie’s hell begins

“All men are rapists and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.” Marilyn French

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By Alex P. Vidal

Now that 66-year-old Himamaylan City Councilor Harry C. Sian has been formally charged in the city prosecutor’s office for violation of Republic Act 7610 or Anti Child Abuse Act, life will never be the same again for Rosalie (not her real name) and her family.
Rosalie, 16, a housemaid, accused Sian, a rich and prominent haciendero in Negros Occidental, of raping her on several occasions for two years.
The alleged rapes happened sometimes inside the car, in the suspect’s house, and in motels. A sex slave?
Rosalie and her mother did not immediately report the matter to the police for fear of reprisal and eviction because they used to stay in the suspect’s hacienda, it was learned.
Even before Sian was charged, there were fears that Rosalie’s decision to come out in the open and pinpoint Sian as her alleged rapist would be an exercise in futility because she is fighting a Goliath.
Rosalie and her family must have evaluated and anticipated the possible consequences they would face once Sian’s name has been mentioned in the media.

CAST

Now that the die is cast, there should be no retreat and no surrender.
As expected, Sian would deny Rosalie’s allegations. As expected, Sian’s camp would mount a counter accusation to impeach the girl’s credibility.
The first volley came from Sian’s lawyer, Pietro Villarin, who claimed that the girl “only wanted money.”
Sian, the lawyer said, was the girl’s “third victim” whatever that means. Villarin did not elaborate.
We have heard this line before in other rape cases involving children who come from poor families.
The message is loud and clear.
Sian’s camp is crying extortion.
The best defense is offense, as the saying goes.
Sensational cases involving poor victims against rich and powerful personalities usually prosper when there are no settlements; when witnesses cooperate from start to finish and refuse to be intimidated and bribed; and when the cases are closely monitored by the media.
If the case goes into trial, Sian’s goose is cooked politically speaking.
Guilty or not, public opinion would be cruel against his favor.

CULTURE

In our culture, we sympathize with the poor, the powerless and defenseless children like Rosalie.
Each time cases like Rosalie’s surface in mass media, we remember the Tagalog telenovela Flordeluna; we remember the abused and exploited women and children working in the haciendas of tart-tongued mestiza and mestizo colonial landlords and landladies.
We remember inhuman treatment by the mighty and privileged against the destitute and downtrodden.
If she is telling the truth, Rosalie deserves all the support from all sectors of society, especially the women and human rights associations in Himamaylan City.
In numerous cases involving rapes, physical and mental abuse, and all forms of violence against women and children committed by moneyed and powerful characters, we seldom see a Rosalie coming out bravely to seek for justice.
In most cases, the victims would opt to keep quite and forget their nightmares rather than risk being pilloried and made to endure a long litigation they can’t afford to sustain financially.

JUSTICE

In our society where justice can be bought and truth can be twisted by the glitters of money and gold, the sight of a poor Rosalie fighting against odds is already a whiff of fresh air for those who pursue justice against conventional wisdom that you can’t topple the powerful, well-connected and well-oiled litigant in a protracted legal battle.
Sian deserves to be given his day in court. He will always be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
With his power and wealth, he is still considered to be in the advantage position.
The Bible tells us not to judge our fellowmen. He who has not sinned should cast the first stone.
When we judge others, we will be judged according to the barometer we used in judging others.
For Rosalie, win or lose, hell has just begun.

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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

‘I can forgive but I can’t forget’

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” BRUCE LEE ver-1

By Alex P. Vidal

What happened to Virgilio Orquiola early morning on August 31, 1996 or 18 years ago will forever be etched in his memory.
“I have forgiven my shooter but I can’t forget (that incident), of course,” sighed Orquiola, now 64 and network comptroller of the Philippine News Agency (PNA)-Iloilo.
On his way to buy coffee at around 3:15 o’clock in the morning, Orquiola left his boarding house and walked going to Iloilo Terminal Market popularly known as “super” in Iloilo City.
While passing by a popular nightclub on Quezon St., City Proper, he heard a gunshot from an unknown caliber.
Minutes later, he was grimacing in pain. Orquiola, a resident of Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City, was hit on the right foot.
Another civilian, Ricardo Cang, who happened to be in the area, was slightly wounded.
“I only realized that I was hit when I felt pain and when I saw blood on my wound,” recalled Orquiola, father of eight-year-old girl, Daniela Cathy.

BULLET

The bullet came from the gun fired by a prominent Iloilo City politician who chaired a city hall task force against lewd shows, prostitution, and drug addiction.
The team was patrolling at that time and was reportedly doing “inspections” inside the nightclub when the commotion erupted.
The politician reportedly got enraged and fired his gun when he was unable to find a female entertainer working in that club.
Orquiola was rushed to the St. Paul Hospital.
When the story spread in media, the politician refused to comment and did not make himself available to reporters.
Due to pressures from media, Mayor Mansueto Malabor persuaded the politician, one of his most trusted allies then, to help Orquiola settle his hospital bills through an emissary.
Orquiola’s boss then, PNA-Iloilo chief Neonita Gobuyan, and some members of the city hall press corps, sought the mayor’s help.
The mayor did not fire the politician who held on to his post while at the same time serving his term as an elected member of the city council.
Orquiola positively identified the politician but did not anymore file a case against him.

INTENTION

“I know it was not his intention to hurt me,” Orquiola said. “I just happened to pass by in the area when the commotion ensued. He did not know me personally, so he had no reason to shoot me. I heard he has also done many good things for his constituents.”
Orquiola said he never saw the politician again since the incident. Because of what happened to him, Orquiola became an instant sensation in media.
News about the shooting and the follow up reports landed on front pages. Because of the personalities involved, it became the talk of the town—especially why the politician fired his gun and who was that female entertainer.
Eighteen years after the incident, Orquiola said he would only smile each time he recalled what happened.
“It’s good I was only hit on the leg. God still loves me,” he said in jest.

SCAR

Orquiola showed the scar of his wound and confirmed the bullet was still inside his foot.
“I feel pain during cold weather,” he disclosed. “Doctors did not remove the bullet.”
Orquiola said he did not attribute the pain he experiences from time to time caused by his diabetes and high blood pressure to what happened 18 years ago saying “it is probably related to my age.”
He was recently hospitalized for seven months due to tuberculosis. Orquiola said he is satisfied and happy working under a new boss, PNA-Iloilo chief Annabel Java-Petinglay, and is only waiting for the mandatory age of retirement at 65.
“I’m happy with my life and my achievement, and I considered that experience as a bad dream,” Orquiola stressed. “I have no rancor in my heart against my shooter whatsoever, and I have long forgiven him. But I can never forget.”

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Who is the rapist city councilor?

“People out there must be told about the self-loathing that follows rape and how it’s the greatest breakage in divine law to mutilate themselves, as I have done.” Tori Amos

By Alex P. Vidal

OF the 12 members of the Himamaylan city council in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, nine are males and three are females.
Their presiding officer is a woman, Vice Mayor Carminia G. Bascon.
One of the nine male city councilors has been accused of rape by Rosalie (not her real name), a 16-year-old housemaid.
He will be formally charged on September 1, according to Himamaylan city police chief,
Superintendent Antonieto Cañete.
The city councilor was not immediately named in the news “pending the formal filing of case against him” thus there was a guessing game that followed when the report spread in mass media.
He reportedly owns the hacienda where Rosalie and her mother and sister used to live.
The repeated rapes allegedly happened for almost two years when the victim and her family were still staying in the suspect’s hacienda.

MOTHER

Rosalie had informed her mother about the sexual molestations but they were afraid to tell the police for fear of eviction, if not reprisal.
They were powerless and paupers. They had no one to turn to.
Rosalie’s father died years ago and only her mother was looking after her.
The suspect allegedly sexually molested Rosalie on several occasions in separate places –in the motel, inside his car, inside his house.
People in Himamaylan City already know who the suspect is. The problem, our sources said, is nobody is gutsy enough to mention his name in the media.
Once he will be formally charged, his name will finally surface—whether he likes it or not.
Once formal charges have been filed against the city councilor, he would be forced to defend himself in media or “in the proper forum” and that is the court.
We hope there would be no whitewash in the investigation.
We hope the family will pursue the case and won’t backtrack when push comes to shove.

INVOLVED

Once a complaint has been officially filed and the involved characters are prominent personalities, media attention has always been full and constant.
We have heard of similar cases in the past where the complaints only ended up being thrown in the waste basket because the suspects and the victims’ families “amicably” settled the cases in the prosecutor’s office.
Sometimes the cases did not reach the first base as they were “settled” in the police station with the lawyers from both parties, some cops, witnesses, middle men, atbp. ending up with fat wallets and smiling from ear to ear.
Since Rosalie is a minor, she would need the support of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The suspect, except if he was not framed up or a victim of political harassment (in this case it’s impossible for a 16-year-old girl to allow herself to be used as a tool to harass a politician at the expense of her and her family’s reputation), will never take the case lightly.
He can’t afford to let the case prosper and suffer the consequences in his personal life and political career.
A rape accused, especially if he is a celebrity or well-known in his place, can never win in public opinion.

ODDS

The odds are always stacked against him especially if the victim is a poor girl and does not have power and connections.
He will always move heaven and earth to resolve the case or settle the complaint in whatever means.
Rape is punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and is no peanuts once it reaches the trial court.
Once the case has been blown up in proportions in the media, the suspect will never be the same again.
It will be the start of his political career’s gradual demise if he will not end up behind bars.
Who among these male city councilors is the suspect in the rape case?
Aly B. Tongson, Jr., Gerardo G. Gamposilao, Harry C. Sian, Larry C. Badajos, Martin Florencio R. Villafranca, Raymuundo S. Lozada, Ricky T. Genova, Rolando V. Da-anoy, Timothy Augustine G. Yulo.
Or none of the above?

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized