Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Top Subic exec says settlement stopped filing of rape raps

By Ansbert Joaquin - INQuirer

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A top official of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority said his agency would have filed a complaint against a Korean accused of raping a 23-year-old Filipino cook in Subic town but the victim did not pursue the case.

“The first thing that we wanted to do was to file a complaint but she (victim) did not pursue the case. She did not even secure a medico-legal report,” said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

“We don’t want to prejudge people, anybody can go file a complaint that she was raped but we cannot establish rape without a medico-legal report,” Arreza told the Inquirer when asked about the measures taken by the SBMA to help the victim.

The victim, who was working as a cook for the Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp., accused barge captain Young Sil Yoon of raping her inside the cabin of his vessel on Sept. 29.

Hanjin is the largest foreign investor to enter the Philippines this year with a committed investment of $1 billion. It is constructing the fourth largest ship building facility in the world in the Redondo Peninsula inside this freeport.

As in the case of Nicole, a Filipino who was allegedly raped by four US Marines inside a moving van at the freeport last year, Arreza said the SBMA could have extended its support for the victim if the latter had come to them.

He said the SBMA provided Nicole housing when she asked that she be shielded from pressures coming from various groups, including the media.

“If she (victim) had come to us and asked for assistance, we certainly would extend [support],” Arreza said.

“But if she refuses to pursue the case, it will be unfair for us to go after the accused without any evidence on our hands.”

“We called the attention of Hanjin to inform them that one of their employees has a complaint lodged against [Young], so that they can take appropriate administrative sanctions,” Arreza said.

A source close to the victim said on the night of Oct. 2, two women representatives of Hanjin went to the victim’s rented room purportedly to ask her help in finding a household help.

While they were talking, the Hanjin representatives allegedly asked the victim how much she wanted in exchange for not pursuing the case against Young.

The negotiations, according to the source, started at P1 million but the company representatives’ offer went down to P150,000.

The victim, the source said, accepted the amount and signed a waiver.

On Oct. 3, the victim went to Metro Manila where she boarded a vessel bound for the province where her family lives. The victim’s leaving Olongapo, according to the source, was part of the settlement.

“As in the case of Nicole, this case is again controversial for the Arroyo administration because the attacker is influential,” lawyer Virgie Suarez-Pinlac, spokesperson of the women’s group Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan (Kaisa Ka), said in a statement.

“The absence of political will on the part of our government to seek justice for Filipina rape victims will succeed only in emboldening foreigners to abuse our people,” she said.


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