Congress to summon NBI on status of 'Florence's' gang-rape case

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 November) — Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero today said Congress will call the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to a meeting this week to inquire why no suspects have been charged in the gang-rape of “Florence,” a volunteer nurse in Maguindanao.

Escudero expressed surprise that despite all the attention given to the case of Florence, who was gang-raped in South Upi, Maguindanao, there has been no progress two months after it happened.

“I was surprised because two months have passed and despite the visit of the Justice Secretary, who is a woman herself, no case has been filed yet,” the senator said.

“If a celebrated case like this still suffers long delays, how much more for cases which never reached the attention of the media?” he asked.

He, however, clarified that all that Congress can do is exercise its oversight function and call the attention of those who are not doing their job, adding the meeting with top NBI officials is intended to look into what has caused the delay.

Ang amin lang magawa ay singilin ang ginawa  o ang di ginawa, hindi na kami dapat magsasabatas para sa pagpapadali ng kaso sapagkat tayo’s may mga batas na (We can only call their attention to what they’ve done or haven’t done. We should no longer enact new laws to expedite the case because we already have sufficient laws),” Escudero said.

He added that all he could wish for Florence on her birthday, which she celebrates today, is for her to recover from what she went through, have a normal life and a family someday.

Florence, who could hardly move when she first arrived at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) here, has greatly recovered and may be due for release any time this week, said Dr. Leopoldo Vega, the hospital chief.

“She’s very far from what she was when she first came in,” Vega told reporters.

“She showed tremendous recovery and that’s because at 21, even if the brain has suffered serious trauma, it still has the capacity to heal itself. All she needs now is time,” she said. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)