[People] The Impunity of the Powerful by Fr. Shay Cullen

The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn the chief of the International Monetary Fund over an alleged sexual assault and attempted rape of a chamber maid in a New York hotel leaves the world gasping. When a person of such global stature and importance can be quickly identified, found, (on a plane about to escape) arrested, held without bail in a notorious prison and charged for a sex crime it shows the tough professionalism of the New York police and the independence of the judicial system. In general it could be said that in most cases the US system gives few privileges or special treatment to the rich and powerful. It is a strict, punitive and harsh justice system and even for minors in conflict with the law there is little compassion.

It is a cause for much reflection and comparison in the Philippines where sexual assault and child rape is such a common crime for which few are arrested and even fewer put on trial and convicted. When it comes to foreigners or the rich accused of sexual assault or child sexual abuse they are generally treated with deference. Money talks, fast and furious. Persons of influence and power, political or financial and even clerical can frequently act with impunity and buy their way out of trouble. Very rarely would an influential person in the Philippines be treated as robustly as Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

For example, the notorious case of MH a 47 year-old official of the World Health Organization, an Australian national, was arrested early in May 2009 in his car with a 12-year-old boy and a pimp. The pimp stated to police that the suspect committed sexual acts on the boy, the boy also confirmed it. MH and another foreigner who allegedly set it up, faced anti-trafficking and child abuse charges and life in prison but mysteriously there was no preliminary investigation, no charges brought and the suspects disappeared.

Take the case of a little 7 -year-old girl, Mykie Prado found raped and murdered on the 21st of February 2010 in Aklan. She died of multiple stab wounds. A rape charge was separately filed against Denis Eutaquio, (photo on http://www.preda.org) as a medical report confirmed that the child had been sexually abused. On the 19th of October 2010 an arrest warrant was issued against the Denis Eutaquio who is in hiding. Because of the closeness of the mother of the suspect to the mayor, allegedly, the investigation has been blocked.

Relationships are in many cases more important than justice, even for raped and murdered children. Following an international letter writing campaign to the Secretary of Justice, Leila De Lima, she immediately ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation and find the suspect.

The main obstacles blocking justice for abused children are mostly found in the office of the prosecutors. In a recent letter to the Secretary of Justice a children’s rights and protection organization asked the Secretary of Justice to unblock cases of child sexual abuse and incest that are pending resolution in the Olongapo City prosecutors office. In one case, the incestuous father admitted to raping his daughter. Until now, there is no prosecutors’ resolution.

The case of Mayor Jose Rodriguez, of San Marcelino indicates the extent of political power in slowing down the progress of Justice. He is accused of the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl but denies the charges and despite the seriousness of these charges seldom attends the court hearings. Power has its privileges.

The most unusual and exceptionally rare good news is that two Swedish men and three Filipinos have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in Cagayan De Oro City for operating a cyber-sex operation where women brought from different provinces preformed sex acts live on the internet for paying customers. This conviction is being appealed to the higher court most likely it will be reversed on a technicality.

The reform of the antiquated penal code will be a great improvement and the overhaul of the prosecution service will be the only want that victims of crime, rape and child abuse will have a chance to find justice. We might need a little bit of Law and Order; New York style to get justice done. P.O. Box 68, Olongapo city. Email: Preda @ info . com . ph

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)
http://www.preda.org/main/archives/2011/r11051801.html

4 thoughts on “[People] The Impunity of the Powerful by Fr. Shay Cullen

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  2. Pingback: [People] Save the Children, Reform the Prison System – Fr. Shay Cullen | Human Rights Online Philippines

  3. Pingback: [People] A Bright Shining Moment by Fr. Shay Cullen | Human Rights Online Philippines

  4. Pingback: [People] Risking Life Itself by Fr. Shay Cullen | Human Rights Online Philippines

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