134 VACW cases in Davao City blamed on cops, soldiers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 August) – A total of 134 cases of violence against women and children reported to the city’s Integrated Gender Development Division involved men in uniform, an official said.

IGDD head Lorna Mandin said that since 2004 when their office was created, 134 cases have been filed against men in uniform, 71 of such cases against members of the city police office.

The rest of the complaints were against members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as barangay police.

Mandin, however, said less than 10% of the complainants pursued the cases.

She said cases of VAWC have continuously risen since the department’s creation in 2004. She said the numbers were in the thousands but she could not give exact figures.

She said that of the women who filed complaints against men in uniform, some were legal wives of the respondents while others were mistresses.

Mandin said the worst reported VAWC cases were those that combined physical, psychological, and economic abuse.

She said many complainants whose spouses or partners were policemen were “afraid” to report their cases to the police.

“But there are some who are brave enough. They ask for help from colleagues of the offenders or ask help from the IGDD,” she said.

Mandin said the aggrieved women should ask for assistance from IGDD. She assured they could get relief under the city’s Women Development Code as well as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act.

“The women can ask for a barangay or court protection and seek free legal help from the city,” she said, although she noted that some women were afraid to come forward because they did not have the funds to pay for litigation.

Mandin was a guest at Monday’s weekly Kapehan sa SM forum, along with Gabriela Partylist Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan.

The issue was raised on the heels of a YouTube video posted by YouTube user Hudas Ka showing Davao City police chief Senior Supt. Vicente Danao hitting his wife.

Danao, in previous interviews, had refused to comment on the issue, saying it was a private matter.

But Ilagan said there is no such thing as a private matter when it involves violence against women and children.

“Your city government slaps a comedian as ‘persona non grata’ for joking about the women in the city but look the other way [in the case of Danao]? Dili balanse ang atong lihok,” she said.

“We don’t have a sense of proportion. In the case of [comedian Ramon] Bautista you punish, but shift reactions regarding a person who should be a role model,” she cited.

Ilagan said she would push for a law requiring incoming appointed officials to be cleared of any case involving violence against women and children.

“We do not blame the victim,” she said. “Why divert the attention? Does the wife of Danao dserve to be beaten simply because he said he has issues against the wife? Let’s focus on the issue and that is the domestic violence.”

She said she would also discuss the issue with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas during their upcoming budget hearing in the next few weeks. (MindaNews)