By Lesley Vestil
ARGAO, Cebu—-A nine-year-old girl was reportedly gang-raped by six men, including her uncle and a 17-year-old cousin, in Argao town, southern Cebu on Tuesday night.
Four of the six suspects have been detained at the town’s police station. Among them were the victim’s uncle and cousin, whose names have been withheld to protect the victim’s identity.
The other are Calixto Aligato, 22, and Remond Emelda, 30, both residents of Barangay Quiot-Pardo in Cebu City but are working in the Argao as construction workers.
Two other suspects identified only as Jun and Pat are being hunted by police.
Police had received reports from a concerned citizen that a young girl was dragged to a vacant area in Barangay Talaga, in the same town, by unknown men.
Initial investigation revealed that the girl was alone at her house when she was dragged by her uncle towards an area where he and his fellow construction workers were working.
The uncle brought some banana leaves where the girl was made to lie down.
The suspects then took turns raping her, stopping only when they saw the victim’s genitals bleeding.
SPO1 Vivian Tamayo, Argao Women, and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) investigator, told Manila Bulletin this was not the first time the victim had been sexually abused by her uncle.
She started experiencing abuse from the uncle a year earlier.
The victim’s mother knew that her daughter was sexually abused by her uncle, cousins and fellow construction workers but only told them she plans to sue them before the barangay if they repeated what they’ve done to the girl.
But Tamayo said that when she spoke to the victim’s parents, they denied that the victim was raped.
Tamayo said she plans to file a separate case against the victim’s parents for violation of Republic Act 7610.
Though he admitted raping his niece twice, the uncle claimed he didn’t start the deed first.
He claimed he was seduced by his niece repeatedly by pulling his shorts whenever she was with him.
The other suspects also denied abusing the girl.
The victim is under the custody of the local social welfare office in Argao town and will undergo trauma intervention.