The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has strongly condemned the killing of a 15-year-old female who was gunned down on her way home in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur on July 2.
The young woman was shot by men riding-in-tandem. Prior to the incident, she filed a complaint against one of the police officers of the San Juan Municipal Police Station for acts of lasciviousness.
Her 18-year-old cousin has also filed a rape complaint against another police officer from the same police station. According to information from the Cabugao police, the two girls were sexually harassed by the cops after they were arrested for violating curfew.
The policemen are now considered as suspects in the killing.
In a statement, CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that the experience faced by the two girls highlights the vulnerability of women and children to gender-based violences, especially during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Many stories remain unreported until we hear their horrors of struggle out in the open,” she said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Women Children Protection Center has recorded 804 cases of gender-based violence and violence against women and children from March 15 to April 30, 2020. But given the hidden nature of these domestic cases, De Guia said the actual number of cases might actually be higher.
The CHR recognized the swift action of the PNP in denouncing the crime and initiating an investigation against the suspects for murder charges. The Commission’s Regional Office in Region I shall likewise be conducting its own independent probe regarding the matter.
“We hold on to our police force’s commitment to ‘serve and protect’ our rights and, if needed, ensure accountability for the indignities committed even if the perpetrators are among their ranks,” said De Guia.
“We reiterate our call to all concerned agencies of the government to ensure the safety of women and children in full compliance with international and domestic laws and standards,” she added.
The CHR urged the government to be “proactive” in implementing women and child protection measures and services especially while the community quarantine is still in place.