[People] The horrific crime against 7 year-old Mykie Prado by Fr. Shay Cullen

The horrific crime against 7 year-old Mykie Prado
by Fr. Shay Cullen

325-fr-shay-cullenWe are facing a growing crises and epidemic of child sexual abuse according to the numbers that are being reported and by educated guess that thousands more go unreported. It takes much courage and bravery for a child or threatened adult to report such crimes in a culture of apathy and indifference. Our Catholicism is challenged as useless if there is no action for justice. Sympathy among the authorities for accused rapists is mind-boggling and when it comes to child abuse, with brave exceptions, public opinion is a cold silent iceberg of injustice.

Mykie Prado was found raped and murdered on the 21st of February 2010 in Aklan. She died of multiple stab wounds. There were witnesses, they pointed to the culprit. A rape charge was filed against the suspect Dennis Eustaquio Gonzales, age 26 years (photo on http://www.preda.org). A medical report confirmed that the child had been sexually abused before she was murdered.

On the 19th of October 2010, an arrest warrant was issued against the accused who is in hiding and all the police, local NBI and CIDG have failed to arrest him despite pleas of social workers and the international justice group appealing to the Department of Justice for Mykie Prado and to prevent others like it from happening. An appeal by a German Mayor and many supporters yielded no arrest. The suspect is allegedly protected by the Mayor and the family of Mykie has been constantly threatened and intimidated to withdraw charges. But they hold fast.

In a letter to the Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima and child’s rights advocate Assistant Secretary of Justice Geronimo Sy, a brave woman witness writes:

Please, just call me Lena. I’m living in Sitio Luho, Brgy. Buruanga, Aklan.
May this letter serve to reveal the truth of Mykie Prado’s death. Ever since February 21, 2010 until today, 2013, my conscience hasn’t given me rest anymore because I know what actually happened that day when Mykie Prado died.

We don’t know how to really help to cause righteousness in Mykie’s case, because we are afraid of the Mayor (name deleted) of Buruanga, Aklan and the local police. Following I am writing to you what has actually happened, asking your good office to judge for yourselves whether it’s right and just what they have done.

Mykie is the third of six siblings. Since her parents, due to severe poverty, weren’t able to raise and feed all of them, they felt forced to give Mykie to far relatives. Those relatives promised to offer the child an education and a good future. The man’s name is Bernard Cahilig.

Bernard Cahilig is living together with his live-in partner Felicidad Gonzales, who is separated from her husband whom she has several children with. One of her sons, Dennis Eustaquio Gonzales, age 26 years old, was living with them at the same house together with Mykie.

On February 21, 2010, Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) came home from a birthday party at our neighbor’s. He demanded Mykie to buy alcohol for him. It took a while before she returned home, since our neighbors offered her some food. When Mykie eventually arrived back home, Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) was very angry that she hadn’t returned at once. We heard Mykie cry. At 3 O’clock in the afternoon, she screamed: “Father, help me!” Also Felicidad, Dennis’ (Eustaquio Gonzales) mother, heard the cry since she was standing outside just like us. She asked her son. What are you doing with the child again?

That day, it wasn’t only us who heard Mykie scream ” Father, help me!”. Also Felicidad’s visitors who were staying at her house heard Mykie crying; a couple, Mr. Democrito and Mrs. Ruby Barrentos, from Poblation Malay, Aklan. About 20 minutes had passed, when Dennis (Gonzales) stepped out of the door. He was holding Mykie, his face and t-shirt covered with blood.

Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) threw Mykie in front of the door on a place covered with stones. Then he and his mother rolled her on the rocky road. Thus, the murder is covered up and it looks like an accident. Afterward Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) used the water of our faucet outside of our house to wash his face. We were threatened that if we told anybody what really happened, he will be back and kill us too.

We were afraid. Maybe he really meant to kill us in case we told somebody since the mayor is a good friend of theirs. We were in panic. Our neighbors carried Mykie on a wooden board used for sifting rice to the hospital. Felicidad sent her son to hide in the mountains right away.

When Mykie arrived at the hospital, she was already dead. She had lost too much blood because of the stabbings in her body. Not only had she been stabbed but raped as well. The people asked for the knife and the addict son. Both knife and son had disappeared……..(to be continued). Full text at http://www.preda.org

Even to ignore or cover up such a crime is to our great shame, many children like Mykie Prado, a 7 year-old gets no justice. Yet a courageous and brave woman speaks out for a little girl. Thousands more are victimized. In India, Hindus and Muslims are outraged at the rape and murder of children there. They hold aggressive protest demonstrations on the streets. In the Philippines, there is silence by Church, government and the public at large. So what’s the point of being Catholic? shaycullen@preda.org; http://www.preda.org; http://www.predafairtrade.net

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in the Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line)

Need Help? Contact: predainfo@preda.org

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