Soldiers ‘settle’ rape of minor by paying ‘blood money’

The rape victim, represented by her foster father and relatives, agreed to accept the “blood money” offered by the suspects. As to how much the blood money is, not one of  them would divulge to the media.

But one of the survivor’s relatives, a Maguindanaon leader in Carmen, told media that blood money for a heinous crime like rape is worth P120,000. “It would depend as to their agreement. But the minimum for a crime of rape is P120,000,” he said.

The agreement as to payment of blood money was reached after series of meetings between the two parties, the relative said. “We follow this tradition. We relatives of the victim decide as to how the tribe or the clan will treat the case,” said a Moro leader, also a relative of the victim who requested anonymity.

If there’s no payment of blood money despite the agreement, “then that’s the time we decide whether or not we mete out the death sentence against the suspects,” he stressed.

Under the country’s Revised Penal Code, rape is not a crime against chastity but a crime against person and rape of a minor constitutes a heinous crime that carried the maximum penalty of death until the death sentence was abolished this year.

Lt. Col. John Oswald Buco, commander of the 40IB, said that even if there was settlement of the case, he is set to file administrative charges against his three men accused of raping the girl.

“These are the very persons that destroy our organization. So we have to impose the necessary sanctions against them after they undergo due process,” he said in an interview over DXND.

Last Friday, the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, Col. Ruperto Pabustan, ordered the investigation on the alleged involvement of three Army personnel in a gang rape at the damsite of Kibenes, Carmen by suspects, Army Private Boyet Canisares and two other soldiers.

Pabustan ordered Buco to investigate three soldiers under his command who were identified by a 15-year old Moro girl as having raped her. The girl was earlier reported as bar worker but relatives said she was not.

North Cotabato provincial social welfare and development (PSWD) chief Zaida Jubilan-Rensulat, who learned of  the rape from the reports of DXND here, assured she would coordinate with the municipal social welfare office of  Carmen town to give immediate assistance to the victim.  (Malu Cadeliña Manar/MindaNews)