By ACE ALEGRE
BAGUIO CITY– “Katrina”, 16 was a bright high school senior at the Cabiten National High School in Mankayan town, Benguet. She is an honor student and according to her family, an obedient child.
But her bright future was marred by a traumatic experience. And her best friend was showing signs that she, too, had suffered the same fate.
On November 2011, she began showing unusual behavior. She began skipping classes, displaying unusual disobedience and oftentimes, she would stare blankly ahead.
A month before, the young girl got a text message in her cellphone from an unknown number wanting to become her textmate. “Vince Valdez” wooed her for a month and eventually they became ‘close.’ Eventually revealing his real identity as Captain Danilo Lalin of the Highlander 86, 50th Infantry Battalion based in Mankayan town, the Army officer also bared that he hailed from Gonzaga town in Cagayan.
On December 17, last year, the high school senior’s parents reported she failed to come back from her school’s Christmas party preparations. Unknown to the young girl’s parents, “Katrina” went with Captain Lalin to Impugong, Tinoc, Ifugao for a military Christmas Party.
The young girl went home two days later; she was very silent. Her mother reportedly found several pieces of birth control pills in her bag, prompting her to worry even more.
The women’s group Innabuyug-Gabriela who had helped rescue eight women from Davao last month in an alleged sex den along Bokawkan Road in this city – prompting the Baguio City council to probe human trafficking happening in the city – said that “Katrina” and Capt. Lalin kept on seeing each other after that. The latter gave the young girl gifts and money.
“He promised to marry her, saying his earlier marriage had been annulled,” said Mila Singson, secretary general of the women’s group.
Being young and vulnerable, said Singson, “Katrina” defied her parents and followed the suggestions of Capt. Lalin. She began skipping classes and fighting her parents, Singson added.
Worse, “Katrina’s” friend “Isabel” (also not her real name and a minor), was wooed, too, by Captain Lalin, said Singson. The once best of friends became worst enemies.
Like in a tele-drama, said Singson, Lalin has also began accusing “Isabel” of making moves on him and also spreading his fears that the latter might accuse him of rape.
Singson of Innabuyug-Gabriela said “Isabel’s” parents have reported that Captain Lalin also “raped” her. She reportedly confessed that on February 17, this year, the military officer took her to a military camp in Ifugao and raped her.
“Isabel’s” kin also found out that the young girl was also manifesting behavior similar to her former best friend.
Government physician Joyce Bastian-Laforga of the Benguet General Hospital bared that “Isabel” is suffering from complete hymenal laceration; that she rated a second degree perineal laceration, indicating she had been raped. She was also diagnosed as mentally depressed. Dr. Laforga also feared the possibility that more than one man had “raped” the young girl.