Rape cases involving minors rise in Dapitan
DAPITAN CITY, Philippines – The city where national hero Jose Rizal tried to create his ideal society is now threatened by the rising cases of rape involving minors.
PO2 Vanessa Andilab of the Dapitan Police Station’s Women and Children Desk told Rappler that reported rape cases involving minors in the city have reached 9 since January.
The figure is almost equal to annual average in the last 3 years. From 2012 to 2014, the police recorded 30 such cases.
The latest incident happened a week ago when a high school teacher was accused of raping his 14-year-old student, which angered a lot of Dapitanons.
“This is a failure of our society,” said George Aseniero, grandson of one of Dr Jose Rizal’s 16 students in Dapitan.
“We failed in our morals, and it is not just in Dapitan because crime against women and children are happening anywhere in the country.”
Early evening on March 15, a young boy was walking at Dapitan’s Sunset Boulevard. Upon reaching a bridge, he noticed below a man who was zipping his pants. The boy crawled nearer only to see that the man was with the boy's younger sister. The was the girl's teacher identified as Dexter Duval, 33.
The boy ran to tell his father nearby and they started to go after Duval. Some residents who saw the commotion helped in arresting Duval and brought him to the police station.
The victim’s father, through PO2 Andilab filed a rape complaint against Duval, who insisted there was no rape that happened. He claimed he and the victim were in a relationship.
After inquest, Prosecutor Lynbert Lo filed “information” with the regional trial court in nearby Dipolog City, which issued warrant of arrest against Duval but allowed him to post a P120,000 bail.
The victim’s father was furious after knowing Duval was able to post bail. He said his poverty had crippled his quest for his daughter’s justice.
The father, who supports his family by fishing, was teary-eyed and asked: “Sa kadaghang tawo sa Dapitan, nganong namo pa man gyud ni nahitabo (Of all the people in Dapitan, why did this happen to me and my family)?”
“I really cannot give an answer why rape cases involving minors are on the rise,” said Andilab, who has been conducting lectures and dialogues on the protection of women and children in schools and barangay assemblies.
Andilab said her lectures include protecting minors from pornography on the Internet.
Andilab puts it said the number of rape involving minors may have risen in recent years but these went unreported. It was also possible, she said, that the victims summoned the courage to file cases only now.
Although City Administrator Robert Magallanes promised to call on the police and City Social Welfare and Development officials to address the problem, the people’s passivity may be contributing to the problem.
“A lot of people know what is happening and they are angry, but they usually opt to be silent. They don’t want to get involved because they don’t want to get into trouble,” Aseniero said.
Even the high school where Duval is teaching has been apparently cold. The victim’s father went to see the school principal, Sherlito Sagapsapan, to complain against Duval. Sagapsapan told them to first get a copy of police report.
The father revealed that Sagapsapan told him to go to the Department of Education’s regional office in Zamboanga City should he wish to file administrative charges against Duval.
Asked why no investigation was immediately conducted by his school, Sagapsapan told Rappler they were yet to receive a formal complaint against Duval.
Section 16 of DepEd Order Number 40, series of 2012 says, “The School Head or the School Division Superintendent, upon receipt of the Complaint, shall forward the same, within 48 hours, to the disciplining authority, who shall then issue an Order for the conduct of a fact finding investigation, not later than 72 hours from submission.”
Families in crisis
Aseniero said the “victims are usually victims of something else, maybe poverty. Perhaps it is also solitude because they could be in a broken family.”
He added there is definitely failure in education because "we are not being taught enough about morality and about caring for each other. In schools, we are taught to compete against each other."
And there is the failure of the Church, Aseniero stressed. “Perhaps because they are more concerned on saving the soul after death rather than saving us while we are still alive.”
Finally, there is failure within the family. Aseniero said a huge number of Filipino families are in crisis.
“There are a lot of problem parents than problem children. For our society to function well, it must have strong foundation, which is the family. According to Rizal, if the family is weak, then the society would also be weakened,” he said. – Rappler.com