Gabriela to file resolution vs. rape as a war crime to charge those behind Ampatuan massacre

Dec. 13, 2009

Davao City—Gabriela Women’s Partylist (GWP) expressed outrage over the recent findings of the police forensic experts which confirmed the rape of at least five women who were among the victims of the Ampatuan massacre.

GWP regional Spokesperson, Nisa Opalla said the brutal rape-slay of women victims of Ampatuan massacre have only validated the conclusion of most Filipinos here and elsewhere in the world already shocked over this tragedy. Gabriela blames the Arroyo regime who have all along bred the rapist-murderers and fascist warlords in Mindanao.

Opalla added that the use of sexual violence is a war crime being used against women and it is condemnable not only in the Philippine laws but also with the international humanitarian law (IHL).

The victims were identified as Rahima Palawan, Meriam Calimbol, Mercy Palabrica and Cecille Lechonsito and journalist Lea Dalmacio of Socsargen News in General Santos City. Dr. Ruby Grace Diangson, forensic expert from the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that Cecille Lechonsito, one of the passers-by who was shot  in the mouth at close range showed strong indications of sexual abuse and had a bruising or an “injury” in her genitalia”.

Opalla recalled that other cases of extrajudicial killings in the country highlight women victims raped and assaulted before they were murdered, citing the case of Rebelyn Pitao killed in Carmen, Davao del Norte, and Marjorie Reynoso killed in Maco, Compostela Valley.

GWP Rep. Liza  Maza earlier filed House Resolution 1517 directing the Committee on Human Rights and Committee on Women to conduct an investigation on the Maguindanao massacre.

The resolution also called for the State to eradicate the threats that loom before women especially during the election period, and to uphold and guarantee the human rights, particularly of the right to political participation, of women.

Maza stressed the role of the government as the primary bearer in ensuring protection of women against all forms of discrimination and violence as mandated under RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women.

Maza, one of the primary authors of this law said the State shall ensure that all women shall be protected from all forms of violence as provided for in existing laws. Agencies of government shall give priority to the defense and protection of women against gender-based offenses and help women attain justice and healing.

Gabriela calls for all women rights advocates in the country and in the whole world to be fearless and show courage in exposing injustices against women

For reference:

Nisa Opalla  Gabriela Regional spokesperson

Mobile phone number: 0939-403-5519

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