Justice and truth

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc July 20,2017 - 10:50 PM


Since the news of a lawyer-broadcaster allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl spread like wildfire, I have never felt any compelling need to state the obvious: that there are many lawyers who are broadcasters at the same time. But on second thought, I realize that the day the news broke was not a very good day for every lawyer-broadcaster.

Who is this lawyer-broadcaster accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in Cebu City? Do you know this lawyer-broadcaster in the news? Are you the lawyer-broadcaster referred to in the news?

These are just few samples of the many questions that I and my staff at dyHP RMN Cebu have received since Thursday last week until today in relation to the news that a 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a radio broadcaster who is also a lawyer. The questions come from my immediate relatives, relatives, classmates, friends, listeners, et cetera.

My staff and I have categorically answered that I am not the one being referred to in the news.

I am pretty sure that my fellow lawyer-broadcasters in Cebu have also received similar questions. If my memory serves me right, including myself, there are presently six male lawyer-broadcasters in Cebu, namely, Frank Malilong and Elias Espinosa of dyCM; JT Benz and DX Lapid of dyAB of ABS-CBN; and Juril Patino of Brigada News FM.

Although the name of the lawyer-broadcaster being referred to in the news was already known through the social media, his name is still withheld in the traditional media due to its sensitive nature while there is no formal case being filed. Unfortunately, speculations continue, putting the name of every male lawyer-broadcaster in a not-so-ideal situation.

I thank my good friend, dySS/GMA veteran broadcaster and columnist Bobby Nalzaro for pointing out in his column last Saturday that the news did not refer to me.

Actually, the alleged 13-year-old rape victim and her mother went to our station dyHP RMN and asked for our help last July 11, 2017. They decided to seek our assistance after the alleged rape incident happened and when their text messages were left unanswered by their broadcaster boss.

So I was able to personally conduct a separate interview with both the victim and the mother. In a nutshell, the facts of the case went this way: The 13-year-old girl is a laundrywoman’s daughter. She and her other sister helped her mother wash the clothes of a radio broadcaster in the latter’s house.

In return, the said radio broadcaster, aside from giving salary to his laundrywoman, used to give money to his laundrywoman’s children.

As per narration of the 13-year-old girl, she used to go to the radio station where the said broadcaster boss works. But one time when she went to the station, she was told that the said broadcaster was in Marawi City. She asked for at least a P7 fare from a lawyer-broadcaster, the co-anchor of her mother’s broadcaster boss.

The lawyer-broadcaster said that his money is in his car. So he told the child to go with him in the car and he allegedly offered a free ride. The child boarded the car, but she was allegedly brought to a secluded place somewhere in Parian, Cebu City, where he raped her.

During my interview with the child, I used my experience in handling a rape case. Considering that she is a minor, I managed to carefully cross-examine her. I found out that her narration is very consistent. Insofar as the substance of her testimony is concerned, it appears credible.

However, I observed that she was still in a state of shock. In fact, she could not exactly recall the date and the exact place where the car was parked because it was already dark. She just told me that she is sure that it happened before July 8 and it happened inside the car.

Dr. Rene Obra, chief of the Center for Behavioral Sciences of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, explained to me the psychological effect of a rape victim. He said that considering that the victim is a minor and still under stress because of the traumatic incident, you cannot expect her to perfectly narrate everything especially as to the specific date and place of incident.

He recommends that the child should undergo a stress debriefing and psychological examination to be healed from a traumatic experience.

So to confirm further if something happened to the 13-year-old, I referred her to the pink room of Vicente Sotto hospital. The medical certificate confirmed the traces of a forceful sexual contact resulting in an 8 o’clock laceration in her hymen. I have a copy of the said medical certificate.

It happened that during the examination at the pink room, there was a standby social worker, the latter referred her at the women’s desk of Parian Police Station. The victim went back and forth to the women’s desk for three days until I learned from the mother that they are not comfortable about going back there.

In fairness to the lawyer-broadcaster being referred to by the news, he posted on his Facebook account a statement which says, “In as much as I want to consign in silence and let the impartial wheel of justice takes its normal course I am apprehensive that my silence may be misconstrued as guilt.

I do not want to glorify the accusations with any direct response in the demean and baseless accusations against my being. However, this is a plain and simple attacked not just to me but to the media institutions and the legal profession where I am ordained to serve. In due time I will face my accusers fair and square but in the meantime, may I appeal to all to suspend judgment upon my being on the muzzy issues coated with great and orchestrated deceptions.”

With regard to the news that the victim and her family are nowhere to be found, a reliable source told me that they sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7).

How I wish that the truth will come out.

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TAGS: accused, broadcaster, lawyer, rape
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