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gabriela confident pantabangan vice mayor will be made accountable for sexual abuses, calls for vigilance
Press Release Posted on June 28th, 2012.
Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan, 0920-9213221
Jang Monte, 0917-4049119
Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus said they remain confident that the cases of rape and sexual abuse filed against Pantabangan Vice Mayor Romeo Borja, Jr. will still proceed toward the latter’s conviction despite the complainant's hasty decision not to pursue the case.
At Tuesday’s preliminary investigation hearing of "Jasmin" vs Borja, DOJ Prosecutor did not dismiss the rape case versus VM Borja despite the affidavit of desistance filed by "Jasmin". DOJ Circular No. 54 enjoins prosecutors from dismissing child abuse cases by virtue of such affidavits. "Jasmin" was a minor when the alleged sexual offense happened. The case is now submitted for resolution.
“Jasmin’s hasty action was unexpected. We have been assured by her mother that they will continue up to the last hour before the said withdrawal. We were not informed of this sudden change of disposition although we are aware of Borja’s continued efforts to speak with, harass and convince Jasmin’s family to back out. In many cases, victims do succumb to the pressure especially if the perpetrator uses all means and take full advantage of the victim's vulnerability. We understand that undergoing trial can be as traumatic as the rape itself and facing an opponent as financially and politically powerful as Vice Mayor Borja can wear down victims like Jasmin,” said De Jesus.
Gabriela solons accompanied ‘Jasmin’ when the latter filed rape charges against Pantabangan Vice Mayor Borja Jr. before the Department of Justice on 7 May 2012. ‘Jasmin’ was a minor when she was allegedly raped by Vice Mayor Borja Jr. inside the latter’s office at Pantabangan Municipal Hall and recently gave birth to the Vice Mayor’s child. They said Jasmin’s counsel, Atty. Minerva F. Lopez was also unaware of her client's decision to withdraw.
Based on the consultation made by GWP with Atty. Lopez, she expressed her belief that the affidavit of desistance submitted by Jasmine was not freely and voluntarily executed. However, the lawyer is still hopeful that the DOJ will recommend the filing of charges against Borja especially in the light of the fact that Borja’s affidavit is inherently weak.
“These developments on the case of Jasmin highlight the woes and difficulties of victims pursuing justice against powerful opponents like Vice Mayor Borja. This prods us to take further action in ensuring that reforms are instituted by making the anti-Rape Law an effective refuge for victims; by strengthening organizations that uphold women’s rights and welfare, expand and galvanize community support to help prod victims’ morale and strength in pursuing justice,” Ilagan concluded.
GWP is likewise supporting the case of another rape victim who filed rape charges against the Pantabangan Vice-Mayor. The cases are still in the preliminary investigation stage.#