BY FR. SHAY CULLEN
The outright dismissal by Philippine prosecutors in Olongapo City of criminal charges of child trafficking for sexual exploitation brought by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against a father and his 33-year-old son, Filipinos with US citizenship, has provoked outrage and anger among defenders of children’s rights. The child rights advocates are demanding that charges of child abuse be filed in court by the Department of Justice against the two suspects and that the children be given protection.
One of the victims, a 15-year-old is pregnant, allegedly by the 33-year-old suspect, and the younger 14-year-old sister has multiple lacerations in her sexual organs according to the legal-medical examiner’s report. The child states in her sworn affidavit that both men had sexual relations with her and her sister many times and video-taped it. The evidence points to multiple acts of child rape, abuse, intimidation and the making of child pornography.
The two suspects, American nationals Mario and Mark P. were held for almost three weeks in NBI detention in Manila. The had charges of alleged child abuse, sex slavery and child trafficking dismissed by Olongapo City prosecutor Melani Fay Tadili Banarez, in a resolution approved by Emily de los Santos, city prosecutor last May 24 and walked free.
Despite the weight of evidence presented by the NBI medical examinations showing multiple evidence of sexual abuse, the original statement of the 14-year-old that she was sexually used many times by both men and video taped in sexual acts as was her sister, and the fact that the 15-year-old was rescued at 6 a.m. in the bedroom of the 33-year-old suspect child abuse charges were inexplicably not made against them by the prosecutors and instead the wealthy suspects were allowed go free. Childrenis rights advocates have written to the Department of Justice’s Undersecretary Linda Manelab Hornilla asking her to respond quickly to the motion of the NBI for a reconsideration of the Olongapo prosecutoris dismissal or to order a reinvestigation before the suspects flee back to the United States.
The two sisters have not been taken into protective custody by the social welfare department despite calls by child advocates. According to the NBI the two children now 14 and 15 years old were allegedly abandoned by their mother, Mrs. Cababacan, to the older man and he was later joined by his son. The biological father of the children, Julius Jaucian,a German Citizen, died 12 year ago and is buried in Palauig, Zambales, where the grandparents of the children live.
The children are vulnerable once again as the accused and their relatives have hidden away the pregnant 15-year-old. The suspects will believe that they have impunity from prosecution and have been judged to have done no wrong. The children have been silenced by the relatives and are afraid to testify or continue making complaints. Government authorities now say that no legal action can be taken against the suspects if the children or a relative do not come forward and make a complaint. Thus the state, despite the constitution and child protection laws, is apparently powerless to enforce those laws or donit want the trouble of a long trial against US citizens.
The victims as usual are abandoned, sex slaves, since 10-year-old, will see no justice, get no therapy, recovery or compensation. Their lives are ruined. Sex tourists and pedophile foreigners will flock to the Philippineis culture of impunity knowing the justice system is fractured, weak and riddled with incompetence. Dedicated Department of Justice crime- fighting prosecutors donit last long there and many have resigned in frustration. The system tends to protect accused foreigner sex tourists and pedophiles with a passion. A passion for their money perhaps.
The suspect’s relatives have allegedly taken the minors into their control once again and the Department of Social Services in Region III and Zambales have been called upon to act quickly to protect the children. The real possibility of the 15-year-old minor being forced to have an illegal abortion to get rid of the evidence of child rape is a constant danger. The unborn is crying from the womb. Defenders of children are called to take action and write to the newspapers and government authorities to demand protection and justice for these children.