Rapists in Uniform

Rapists in Uniform

Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.

— Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women

RAPE is often committed by an acquaintance, relative, lover or husband of the victim and with this in mind, it’s not surprising why only half of every five cases of abuse are reported to the police.

But what happens when the perpetrator is someone who is expected to uphold and enforce the law—someone who is a policeman or a member of the uniformed service?

A day ago, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) announced it is investigating the alleged rape, detention and extortion of two women by 11 policemen assigned at Station 6 of the Cebu City Police.

The alleged abuse was done, reports said, in what has been called as a ‘secret jail’ that exists inside the police station. The existence of this hidden detention cell is in gross violation of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, which bans “the use of secret detention facilities.”

Unfortunately, such illegal practice persists in places of detention where cases of torture and other ill-treatment likely to take place.

Women, in particular, are most vulnerable to different forms of violence in places of deprivation of liberty as a means of coercion to elicit confessions, to humiliate and dehumanize them, or merely to use the opportunity of their absolute powerlessness.

In view of this, government cannot simply turn a blind eye on this issue and instead “acknowledge and condemn” the police and other state forces’ who use torture as a means of enforcing the law.

The cops who have been charged in Cebu have been named as staff sergeants Joseph Alcoseba, Michael Rhey Cabizares and Celso Colita; chief master sergeant Eric Edgar Emia; and corporals Georny Abrasado, John Carl Aceron, Ejill Ferrolino, Carlo Irizari, Rochelito Mabulay, Emmanuel Martinez and Junel Pedroza.

One of the victims said that the policemen arrested her without a warrant in March for alleged illegal possession of firearms. The victim was allegedly brought to the police station where she was detained in the secret room.

The cops also allegedly extorted P170,000 (US$3,500) from the first victim but the next day, Colita brought her to a motel where he supposedly raped her.

Meanwhile, the second victim said that six of the cops from the same station raided her house after accusing her of being involved in the drug trade. When the cops couldn’t find any drugs in her home, they allegedly stole her jewelry and other possessions. She was also arrested and detained in the secret room in the police station, where she was allegedly tortured by the cops.

It appears that there is something wrong with how our policemen are being recruited and evaluated to become law enforcers because instead of fulfilling the Philippine National Police (PNP) motto “to serve and protect,” they are the ones who are committing crimes

In another case, not only cops turn out to be ‘bad eggs’.

In Urdaneta, Pangasinan, a soldier was arrested after he shot a couple because the woman reportedly refused to have sex with the trooper.

Private First Class Nicho Argos, 27, used his own service firearm in shooting the victims, 20-year-old Celine Fernandez Doria and her boyfriend Fernando Manzano, 28.

Initial reports said that Doria had asked Argos to give her a ride after they both attended a party, but instead of bringing the victim home, the soldier allegedly brought her to a hotel with the intention of sleeping with her.

On realizing the frightful situation she was in, Doria immediately called her boyfriend for help, and Manzano promptly arrived at the hotel to rescue her. This led to an argument between Manzano and the soldier, who in a fit of rage brought out his .45 caliber pistol and shot the couple.

Fortunately, Doria and Manzano were not fatally wounded and were rushed to the Urdaneta District Hospital for treatment while the suspect was arrested by responding authorities.

Argos, who is currently detained at the Urdaneta Police Station, confessed to his crime. (ai/mtvn)

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