Two more PNP officers charged with rape

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Two officers were arrested after extorting sexual intercourse from their suspect. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — After coming under fire for a suspected "rape culture" among its personnel, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has apprehended another set of erring officers who reportedly molested their suspects.  

A police report Wednesday detailed the arrest of PO1 Jayson Portuguez y Cudiamat and PO1 Severiano Montalban III who allegedly extorted sexual intercourse from a female suspect in exchange for her release.   

The victim, who hid by the name "Maria", along with five female companions, were apprehended by the officers in question on November 2 in the Novaliches Plaza Mall for alleged violation of Presidential Decree 1602 or for "illegal gambling."  

Maria was transferred to the Quezon City General Hospital for medical examination where she pleaded the officers to let her go. PO1 Montalban replied that he would release her if should would have sexual intercourse with him, to which the victim agreed. According to Maria's testimony, she was brought to a dark portion of the hospital where she engaged in sexual acts with Montalban and Portuguez. 

Maria reported the incident to the Regional Women and Children Protection Desk (RWCPD) on Monday. Portuguez was arrested the next day while Montalban, who failed to report to work that day, surrendered hours later. The two officers were charged for the violation of Republic Act 8353 or The Anti-New Rape Law of 1997. 

Metro Manila Police Chief C/Supt. Guillermo Eleazar vehemently condemned the case.  

"The timing of this incident comes at the worst time. As police critics are still hitting the organization for the recent rape incident involving another policeman whom we arrested, this one now comes as if to confirm what some critics are saying," Eleazar said.  

The incident comes after an officer was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl whose parents were detained on drug charges in Manila. 

Eleazar maintained that they will continue cleansing their ranks of erring personnel.  

"I encourage more victims of police abuse to come forward so we can really send the message to our policemen that reform is at hand. The PNP with our Chief, PNP PDG OSCAR DAVID ALBAYALDE leading the way, is determined to rid our ranks of undeserving policemen," he added. 

PNP Chief Dir.Gen. Oscar Albayalde earlier staunchly denied the proliferation of "rape culture" among his ranks.  

"Hinding-hindi po natin tinotolerate yang mga ganyang gawain (We do not tolerate these acts)," Albayalde said on October 31.  

[Translation: We absolutely do not tolerate those kinds of acts.] 

The Center for Women Resources records at least 33 cases of violence against women attributed to police officers since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016. 

About 60 policemen were named respondents in the cases, more than a dozen of which involved minors as victims, the report showed. The abuses included rape, acts of lasciviousness and sexual harassment.  

READ: PNP chief: No 'rape culture,' we don't tolerate abuses


PNP female recruitment 

The growing number of harassment reports from the PNP also led to a call to hire more women to handle cases involving children. However, Albayalde said they will retain their current female recruitment quota of 10 percent, due to "restrictions," citing the latest move to extend the maternity leave for pregnant women. 

"Remember there are restrictions kapag minsan babae lalo na kapag nag-asawa 'yan, nabuntis 'yan lalo ngayon 'yung maternity leave napakahaba... In-extend pa yata 'yan 'yung maternity leave, so you could just imagine hindi mo magamit 'yung pulis for that span of time," Albayalde said. 

[Translation: Remember there are restrictions sometimes especially if the woman is married. If she gets pregnant, especially now, because of the long maternity leave, and they might even extend it so you could just imagine not being able to use the police officer for that span of time.]   

The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill, approved by a bicameral conference committee composed of lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives, raises to 105 days the paid maternity leave for women employed in both the public and private sectors. 

Albayalde's comments did not sit well with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). In a statement Thursday, the CHR said the Magna Carta on Women requires an increase of female hirees to reach 50 percent in five years time since the magna carta's passage. The Magna Carta on Women is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, the CHR added.  

Moreover, the CHR said limiting the number of female hirees and criticizing the extended maternity leave is a form of discrimination and a failure to recognize the rights of pregnant women.