The vital witness reappears
Last Wednesday there were two important events that happened in connection with the reported rape case of the 13-year-old child: the filing of the case at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office and the finding of a vital witness who went missing.
The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) finally filed the rape case against the accused, lawyer-broadcaster, Atty. Juril Patiño.
It took almost two weeks for the NBI to file the case because its agents said that they needed ample time to conduct an in-depth investigation and to gather the evidences to support in the filing of the case.
I appreciate NBI agents Atty. Donaver Inesin, Atty. Wenceslao Galendez, Arnel Pura, etcetera for their efforts in conducting the investigation. I learned that aside from preparing the complaint-affidavits of the mother and the alleged 13-year-old rape victim, they also tried to retrieve CCTV footages and got statements from other witnesses.
One of the NBI agents explained that their office did not want to hastily file a case just for the sake of filing, but they want a strong one. In fact, based on their investigation, the 13-year-old victim is consistent in her testimony on the material allegations of alleged rape incident.
The rape happened as manifested by the findings of an 8 o’clock laceration in her hymen based on the certification duly issued by the pink room of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC). The alleged victim is consistent in her testimony that it happened inside the car, but could not exactly recall the specific date and place where the car was parked.
It appears in the investigation that the child is badly affected by the traumatic rape experience. As explained by Dr. Rene Obra, a psychiatrist and chief of Behavioral Sciences of VSMMC, considering that the rape victim is a minor and that she is still under stress because of the traumatic experience, one cannot expect her to recall perfectly the time and date.
The NBI decided to let the child undergo a stress debriefing and psychological examination at the pink room of VSMMC Friday, last week, to heal her from the state of shock. Considering that the doctor and patient needed utmost privacy, the NBI agents gave them space.
While the doctor conducted a long interview with the mother in a private room, the child was left outside the room sitting on a bench. Because of the long time of waiting without something to do, she walked away from the hospital. That started the story that the alleged rape victim, a vital witness of a criminal case, was missing.
After four days of trying to locate the missing child, but to no avail, the victim’s family decided to ask the help of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. The mayor announced a one hundred thousand pesos reward to those who can help in finding the child.
On the evening of the same day when the rape case was filed by NBI before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office, the child was also finally found. The story of finding went this way: My reporters check on Facebook and they noticed that the child went online and posted a picture. Through it, they checked the location and closely studied the background of the picture.
When they were certain of the place, my reporters, namely Aida Tampus, Elias Bolonos, Futch Inso, Josephus Quijano and Angelito Sevillita told me that they would try to check the place. I then instructed Mr. Bolonos and Miss Tampus to convey the development to Councilor Dave Tumulak and NBI agent Atty. Inesin.
My reporters and the victim’s parents proceeded to Brgy. Umapad in Mandaue City. They asked the children who were playing in the place at that time. There were three children who helped them in finding the child. Finally, it was Miss Tampus who got the child.
They went back to our station bringing with them the missing child. I then informed Councilor Tumulak on the development. We turned over the girl to him and he told me that he will coordinate with the NBI.
I hope that the proper government agency in custody of the child will take care of her to prevent the said incident to happen again — her being missing for days. We are very concern of the safety of the vital witness, especially that the family first went to our station and ask our assistance. May we not be misconstrued that we judge the accused as early as now. Nobody must. He will have his days to prove his side.
I understand the side of NBI, especially its Regional Director, Atty. Patricio Bernales. I hope the latter also understands our side, especially the line of our commentaries, bearing in mind that at that time, the vital witness was missing. I have other comments and observations but I opt not to express them anymore or for now. I just hope that they realize that we are closely monitoring the case.
In regard to the reward money, Councilor Tumulak mentioned to me the possibility that our reporters will be the ones to receive the rewards from the city mayor. I declined. I don’t allow my reporters to accept it. I will just be the one to give them a simple token for their efforts in view of the fact that the victim and her parents sought our help.
Now that the case is filed and the vital witness is found, I hope that this is now a big step for the wheel of justice to start moving.
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