/ 16 April 2023

THE COMMISSION on Human Rights on Saturday deplored the cases of rape that occurred this month, all of which targeted children aged 10 and younger.

In a statement, CHR said it is alarmed by spate of sexual assault committed against young children, especially that many of the perpetuators are either family members or acquaintances exploiting the victims’ trust.

“These are gross violations against Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and several international human rights instruments, primarily the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” it said.

“The Commission stresses that nothing can justify rape and any form of sexual abuse against children. Regardless of motive and substance or alcohol influence, a person should be held fully liable for harming and abusing another human being,” it added.

Citing the report, CHR listed around four girls who were victims of sexual abuse, rape and violence.

The first case happened last April 7 in Barangay Cabuco, Trece Martires, Cavite. It involved a seven-year-old girl who was found injured on a riverbank.

Active bystanders chased off the then-unknown suspect and rushed the victim to a hospital but unfortunately, was declared dead on arrival.

Later investigation and witnesses accounts identified the suspect as the victim’s godfather who was seen under the heavy influence of alcohol on the same morning of the incident, CHR said.

The second case occurred on April 9 in Davao City where the lifeless body of a 10-year-old girl was discovered near a banana grove. Two days earlier, the victim’s grandmother asked the cohabiting partner of one of their relatives to babysit the girl, but upon her return, the child was found missing.

The suspect surrendered and confessed to the police for sexually abusing the victim and leaving behind the lifeless body.

The third case involved the rape of a three-year-old girl allegedly done by the victim’s grandfather. The crime happened inside their residence while the victim’s mother was away selling candles during Easter Sunday.

Investigations revealed the suspect had allegedly abused his grand daughter before. He was also previously accused of sexually assaulting a pregnant woman.

The final and most recent incident occurred on April 11 in Mabalacat, Pampanga. A couple was arrested for online sex-trafficking their six-year-old child.

The National Bureau of Investigation successfully tracked the suspects’ location after an Australian client was arrested by foreign counterparts Down Under.

To take necessary actions in these criminal cases, CHR said it mobilized its regional offices to conduct independent investigations and to extend support to authorities and the victims’ families.

“CHR recognises the exemplary service of the respective law enforcers whose swift response led to the immediate arrest of these perpetrators. Equally, CHR lauds the government agencies that provided financial, social, and psychological assistance to the victims’ families,” it said.

Moreover, CHR also stressed protecting children is a whole-of-society responsibility.

“Families and communities must be vigilant, educated, and aware of signs of sexual abuse to complement government and civil society efforts in promoting and protecting children’s rights,” it added.