Sexual abuse cases alarm women's groups

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/6 July) – Progressive women in North Cotabato have expressed alarm over the successive cases of sexual assault on women here, with two incidents in a span of two days.

Ruby Padilla-Sison, chair of Gabriela in North Cotabato, said the police are still clueless as to the identities of the suspects behind the rape-slay on Friday of 17-year-old Ress Mana-ay Manid and the attempted rape of 25-year-old Virginia (not hear real name) on Sunday.

Both incidents took place at the same site, by the creek located along the River Park of Sandawa Homes Phase 3 in Poblacion.
“We could not allow this assault on women to continue. We must put a stop to all of these,” said Sison.

On Monday, Sison and officers of the Network of Women in North Cotabato, went to the office of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk of Kidapawan City to ask updates on the cases that occurred just two days apart.

Manid’s body was found along the creek around 9:30 a.m. last Friday. She sustained wounds on her forehead and a stab on her back.

But results of the post-mortem examination conducted by Dr. Ted Calica of the City Health Office showed that Manid died due to drowning.

Police hinted that after Manid was raped, the suspects drowned her.

On Sunday, Virginia reported to SPO4 Lolita Pacheca, of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk, about the attempt to rape her by two still unidentified suspects, one a tricycle driver.

Around 4 p.m. on that day, Virginia took a tricycle and told the driver to bring her to the market. But she was surprised when the driver took a U-turn, picked up another man, and headed towards Barangay Singao where the creek was located. The man started to caress the victim while they were still on board the tricycle.

Virginia tried to wrestle with the suspect, but she was punched in the stomach. It was so painful that she lost consciousness. When she woke up, she was already lying naked along the riverbank, with the two males trying to rape her. She shouted for help, and again received several punches from the suspects.

But an old man who was on his way home heard Virginia’s shout for help. He rushed to the scene, to the surprise of the two men. They  immediately escaped using the tricycle as get-away vehicle.

Authorities have already launched a manhunt against two suspects. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)