CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma asked for prayers for justice to be served on the culprit in the rape of a four-month-old baby girl while President Rodrigo Duterte gave P10,000 to the victim’s family.
“Karumaldumal na krimen. (It was a grisly crime),” Palma said in an interview yesterday.
“We pray that justice will be meted out. Let’s trust our justice system,” he said.
Duterte through Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, who handed over the money to the boy’s mother at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City at past 11 a.m., shortly before the infant, who was abducted and raped, was discharged from the hospital yesterday.
“He (Dino) made sure that the patient will be taken care of in all aspects including financial and aftercare also,” said Dino’s chief of staff Jonjie Gonzales in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
Dino requested the Department of Social Welfare and Development to attend to the aftercare needs of the baby.
The infant with her mother and two sisters were brought to the DSWD residential center for temporary shelter, Gonzales said.
“Niingon ang mama ug nag-atiman sa bata nga makagawas na siya karon (Saturday)… gitahi gyud ang laceration sa bata, pero okay na ang bata (The mother and those who took care of the baby said that she could be discharged today. The baby’s lacerations were treated and the baby is okay),” said PO3 Camia Codo of the Carcar Police’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk.
Investigation revealed that the infant was taken before midnight of Wednesday while she was sleeping with her mother inside her home. Only curtains served as door of the house.
The father was sleeping in another room with their other children.
The infant was covered in blood when she was found in a coconut field, 100 meters away from the family’s house.
Her diaper and a bottle of coconut wine were found about a meter away from the baby.
On Friday, the police arrested Jonathan Marfe who was considered as the prime suspect in the abduction and rape of the four-month-old baby.
Codo said that they had submitted more evidence for further tests at the Police Regional Office Crime laboratory such as the suspect’s bloodstains, sample saliva, the suspect’s fingerprints, the green t-shirt and the jogging pants the suspect wore on Wednesday night.
She also said that they would file statutory rape charges against the suspect, Jonathan Marfe, tomorrow.
Police said the suspect arrived in Carcar City three days before the incident.
Around the time the baby was taken, Marfe was allegedly having a drinking session with three of his friends.
Chief Insp. Jose Liddawa, Carcar police chief, said a witness saw the suspect go inside the house of the victim.
“We consider this case as closed. Although our evidence are circumstantial in nature, I believe they are enough for the case to prosper,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.
Liddawa said they are also waiting for the result of the saliva swab taken from Marfe to determine if it matched with the samples taken from the bottle of coconut wine found near the baby.
But until yesterday, Marfe had continued to vehemently deny committing the crime, saying that he has three daughters in Bohol, and he is a friend of the victim’s family.
He said that he would be willing to undergo any investigation or tests to prove his innocence.
“Magpatanggong ko dire. Andam ko mopaubos sa bisan unsang test diha, pero dili intawon ako. Di gyud na nako mahimo. Naa sad baya ko mga anak baye (I will led myself be jailed. I will undergo any test to prove my innocence. I did not do the crime. I could not do that because I also have daughters),” Marfe said as he cried.
“Hangyo tawon ko sa nihimo ana. Makonsensya unta ka [I appeal to the person who did (to own up to the crime) I hope that his conscience would bother him],” he added.
Meanwhile, the victim’s father and brother are also asking the police to conduct a thorough investigation and to make sure of the real culprit.
“Sakit kaayo ang nahitabo sa akong anak. Wa ko kasabot sa akong gibati, pero di sad mi gusto nga magpataka lang pud sa pagtudlo sa nihimo … Di sad mi gusto nga di diay mao ang masilotan (What happened to our child was painful to us. I don’t know how I’m feeling right now, but we also do not want to accuse anybody of the crime. We don’t want the wrong person to go to jail),” the victim’s father said.
The father, however, said that they were relieved that justice would be given to his child.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Palma when asked to comment on calls by some people to impose death penalty on the suspect, said, “That’s the usual reaction but in countries where death penalties are imposed, crimes continue to happen.”
“Perhaps, reclusion perpetua can be imposed,” he said, echoing the Catholic Church’s stance against death penalty.