News Analysis Society

Dicing with deaths

Rape, a crime that stalks the Philippines hourly

Today, the feast day of the virgin martyr, St Agatha of Sicily, would have been a good day for the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines to decry from its thousands of pulpits a crime that stalks the Philippines hourly. Under-reported, it feeds on innocent victims the length and breadth of the archipelago with the insatiable appetite or a ravenous beast. The name of that beast is rape. And the memorial day of the Patron Saint of Rape Victims could have provided the Church with the perfect opportunity to draw attention to this immutable evil – an evil that leaves a woman or a child sexually violated in the Philippines every 57 minutes.

It could have broadened its flock’s awareness of the prevalence of this ugly crime; it could have called on St Agatha to intercede on behalf of the beast’s prey. It did neither. Instead, pulpit time today was given over to a nationwide assault on President Rodrigo Duterte’s War on Drugs with prayers offered to the war dead – in many cases hoodlums and thugs of the narcotics trade. Rape victims weren’t mentioned in the intercessory prayers.

This is the Church’s declaration of its own war against Duterte’s campaign to make the Philippines methamphetamine-free by means of an uncompromising battle with the narco lords and their minions. It’s been preparing for this fight for months – Bishops prepare for battle – now it’s out to win the hearts and minds of the people and bring Duterte and his lawmen to account. It’s appealing to give justice to the victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) – pushers, dealers, addicts and others caught up in firefights with police or executed by vigilantes and bandits.

It’s a story that’s rarely left the front pages since Duterte launched his anti-narcotics war back in July. It’s never lacked coverage – it’s been regurgitated by the media and the president’s opponents with the regularity of the weather report. But when did we last see an outpouring from these quarters over the plight of those who’ve been sexually violated by pedophiles and perverts? For the press, the administration’s political foes – and more significantly – the Church, the story of their suffering has gone largely unwritten.

But there’s a very good reason for that. The global Liberal-Left movement, comprising mainstream media, human-rights groups, political adversaries and every other faction that swells the ranks of international progressivism want Duterte removed. And Philippine rape statistics – appalling though they are – don’t have the calibre of the EJK bullet. They can only wound, they don’t have lethal force. Mainstream media might do the odd story on the subject, but they’re not going to build a campaign around it, as they have with the drugs war, to force regime change in the Philippines.

Media will capitalise on individual high-profile cases as they did back in September 2014 over the gang rape and murder of seven-year-old Myla Rosales. Her naked body with more than 20 stab wounds was recovered from the lavatory of a filthy shack in Paco, Manila. High on shabu (crystal meth) and drunk on gin, one of the three men who had violently shut down Myla’s life reportedly said: “I could not remember if I raped her but I know I stabbed her several times”.

Rape, though, isn’t hot enough for anti-Duterte groups to dissuade foreign investors from bringing their money across. It doesn’t create the universal fear that street killings do. In short, it’s very limited in terms of the damage it can do to Duterte personally and to his administration. And that’s the end game here; make no mistake.

And so, the 10-year-old girl who should be playing with her friends in the sunshine is left to be raped and tortured by some filthy pervert in the shadows of a collapsing slum somewhere in an inner city barangay. And the chances are she will never have heard of St Agatha. And nor will any future rape victim sitting in church or a Mass centre in the Philippines today.

The homilies which Filipino Mass-goers will hear today will speak of “a reign of terror” which the War on Drugs has unleashed on the country – not least its poor it will argue emotively. At the start of Mass, a pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will be read out. It will seek to gather public opinion to its side and will advise “elected politicians to serve the common good of the people and not their own interests”.

This is a group over which the bishops once exerted tremendous influence. That influence has waned considerably over the past decade and the bishops want it back. They want their voice in state not just in church.

The pastoral letter’s careful wording – Duterte’s name is not mentioned anywhere – would have been finally agreed on seven days ago when the CBCP, the episcopal assembly of the country’s Roman Catholic Church (131 active and honorary bishops) met for its 114th Plenary Assembly at the Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila; that same district where the young life of Myla Rosales was snuffer out in that drug-hazed orgy of brutal sex.

The hawks and the doves within the CBCP have been wrangling over how they should deal with Duterte for months. They originally adopted a silent wait-and-see approach; but as the death toll mounted, hawkish bishops, supported by Church activist groups, increased their pressure and shoved the issue to the top of discussions at the three-day plenary. A handful had already made their own positions clear and it was these who were able to galvanise the support of the wider body.

Almost certainly alluding to the EJKs, drawing on scripture – “Thou shalt not kill [Exodus 20:13] – the letter states: “Every person has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty”. Unfortunately, that sentiment isn’t applied to President Duterte whenever the media and others bring up the EJK issue. To them he’s already guilty; according to them he “inspired” the killings, ordered them; even participated in them.

The fact is, the Church has no appetite even for the legitimate killing of drug personalities, any more than it wants rapists to be put to death.  The Philippine Penal Code – which in 1997 incorporated an entire new chapter (Chapter 3) laying out the Anti-Rape Law –  prescribes tough sentences for rape including, “reclusion perpetua to death” (life imprisonment) and death itself.

The Church is wholly opposed to another Duterte election-campaign pledge, to reinstate capital punishment, and will be fighting another battle over that as a proposal to lift the death penalty’s suspension from the 1987 Constitution gathers pace in the legislature. Right now, though, its main focus is on the EJK issue.

As of 9 January, the number of deaths under investigation – in other words, deaths not resulting from legitimate police action, though identified as potential victims of the drugs war – stood at 3,603. Let’s give that some context. This amounts to just 39% of an annual average rape rate in the Philippines of 9,221. (In 2015 there were 10,298 reported rapes). Add to those deaths being investigated a further 922, deaths where investigations have concluded – in all, then 4,525 alleged extrajudicial hits – and it’s still less than half the women and girls that are reported raped in the Philippines each year.

Furthermore, unlike the bodies in the street which are easy to quantify, the rape figures are based only on reported cases. And the problem is, given the heavy social stigma attached to being a rape victim in the Philippines – being branded maruming babae (dirty woman), for example – that number is likely to be a serious underestimation.

The other problem is that, the drugs war aside, the Philippines has a very healthy murder rate statistically in its own right. The chances then, that many of these ‘private-sector’ killings have no real bearing on either the drugs war or ‘public-sector’ law enforcement, are high. That they may have been made to look like drug-war victims puts them more in the category of ‘crimes of opportunity’ than anti-narcotics/vigilante killings. Others certainly will be gangland related – using the drugs war as a cover to settle turf disputes. Certainly, rogue cops will be involved in a number of these – after all, they’re part of Philippine Crime Inc; they always have been. They’re not going to pass up a chance like that.

Thus, our contention remains that this is a tough fight for the bishops to win. Cardinal rule or cardinal error? They’re taking on the most-popular president in the country’s history and the risk is that rather than regaining the flock’s respect for the authority of the Church, they could end up decimating it further. On the issue of Duterte’s War on Drugs – and the EJKs in particular, as they’re regularly used to defame their leader – the Church is dicing with the deaths of the people it wants to be presumed innocent in the hope of converting public support to its side. The latest Pulse Asia poll, released last month, gave Duterte an 83% approval rating. We don’t like the bishops’ odds.

69 Comments

  • Sa tutuo d lahat ng ngrape adik nuon wala pang drug may rapist na rin talagang karami na sa ngayon may kaisipan kriminal lalong lumakas yon loob nila nfayon lalo na yon nasa kapangyarihan kc alam nila na may parang basbas ang kanilang panginoon digong d man direct na utos niya ay parang ganon na rin sa ngayon ang buhay ng tao sa kanila ay parang hayop nawawala na talaga yon moralidad na dapaat cila yon maging halinbawa

  • CBCP got used to having their way.And that made them utterly dumb,not realizing their deceiving days are over.Besides the fact that majority of their members doesn’t listen to them anymore,Philippines is already composed of anti catholicism religions.There are already more religions that are inclined to follow true Christian doctrines found in the holy scripture.These religions are aware of the contradicting doctrines taught by catholicism.Thus considering Catholic heirarchy as Anti Christ,and that’s a fact which catholic members are unaware of.Now with these compelling factors,how in hell does these hypocrite bishops thinks & tends to oust a President that is mostly considered as God sent.

    • True..and i am one of them..ive lost confident to this hypocrites and catholic priest teachings now a days that contradicts the bible principles..
      Even the pope had given to actions of what’s going on in the catholic church..

  • Before, where no drugs proliferate yet, crimes had been commited by those who had reasons like crime of passion, anger or hatred for a particular person for whatever reasons, greediness, lust etc but now with the proliferation of drugs, crime is committed with no reason at all. Basta trip lang nila dahil naka drugs. How Sad!

    • oh ano na mga pari , yon rape victim pari ang nang rape bakit wala balita, letse kayo kabaro nyo ang nang rape , tao kayo di kayo santo mga pahirap sa bayan. magpaliwanag nga kayo

  • TO ALL THE SELFRIGTEOUS MANILA PRIESTS AND BISHOPS:
    Why Dont You Adopt A Killer, A Drug Pusher, A Rapist, A Molester, A DrugPusher and Users and BRING THEM To Your House or To Your Convent? Rehab them and Take Care of Them Among Priests and Bishops..

    ➢ How About The Reports of Child Molestations Made By Priests??
    ➢ What Happened To Those Priests Who Made Molestations For Years????
    ➢ How About Declaring the SALN of CBCP
    ➢ How About YOU Declare the Billions of Shares and BankAccounts of Corporations You Got Your Righteous Religious Groups Involved With… ??
    ➢ AND WHY NOT USE The Hidden Million/Billions To Help The Poor.. ??
    ➢ Wanna Dare The Hypocritical Truth Of The SelfRighteous Manila Priests and Bishops..
    ➢ BEHONEST IN YOUR WORLDOFLIES..

    STOP BEING FOOLED BY THE CLEAN SELFRIGHTEOUS PRIESTS AND BISHOPS
    PEOPLE WAKE UP!!! STOP GIVING YOUR HARDEARNED MONEY TO THE CHURCH!!
    STOP BEING FOOLED BY THE CLEAN SELFRIGHTEOUS PRIESTS AND BISHOPS
    PEOPLE WAKE UP!!! STOP GIVING YOUR HARDEARNED MONEY TO THE CHURCH!!

  • … catholic church has gone political… they want to turn the people to a robot-like belief using the bible… they see the fault of the President Mayor but refuse to introspect to see that they are slowly inciting sedition… never mind the people’s mandate, never mind what good deeds he has done for the entire country, nevermind his protection over the people by running after drug cartels, dealers, pushers and users… nevermind the corruption being identified in some government agencies… the bishops only have one thing in mind — to topple him down including his power to lead.
    … i am really trying very hard not to break my belief in my church but i cant see any sign that will push me back to the house of God… my God is now contained in my heart and it does not need any priest to sustain it… and certainly i dont feel good about it.

  • Money is the god of the CBCP. They do not care about the poor. If they did, CBCP should have withdrawn their investment from BPI, Philex Mining and other investment to help the poor. Instead, they ask for support from PCSO and ask the poor people of 2nd and 3rd collections.

  • Thus says the LORD:
    Share your bread with the hungry,
    shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
    clothe the naked when you see them,
    and do not turn your back on your own.
    Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your wound shall quickly be healed…

  • Ya’ll should read, ‘The Two Babylons’, a book by Alexander Hislop and ‘The Synagogue of Satan’, a book by Andrew Carrington Hitchcock. And if you don’t suffer from cognitive dissonance, you might just be bold enough to read Acharya S. books ‘The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold’ and ‘The Suns of God’. Free your mind and your ass will follow.

  • Jesus and it says the leader of the nations is Gods will for the voice of the people is the voice of God but I dont understand that cbcp dontwant to accept this verses as it is written never they cry about the flooding of drugs and corruption during the past administration now that we have a working president and not corrupt a president whose desire is to protect the next generation they are making ways to oust him….but God will all by means will change the face of this nation duterte as a leader to protect the next generation

  • Just my observation – all the catholic countries are successful countries. Look at south america, mexico, spain portugal and italy as compared to germany and great britain, the philippines compared to other asian countries. Must be because of the priests who meddle in the affairs of the state.

    • MAGCOCOMENT NA SANA AKO NA SAAN NAGING SUCCESSFUL ANG SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES UN PALA NAGKAMALI KA LANG. KAYA NGA LAHAT NG CATHOLIC COUNTRIES AY MAHIHIRAP KAHIT NGA MAY LANGIS SILA GAYA NG MEXICO AY GAWA NG NAPUPUNTA SA VATICAN ANG MGA PERA NILA SINISIPSIP NG VATICAN ANG PORTION NG MGA PERA NILA KAYA WALA SILANG PAGASANG UMASENSO HABANG PANHON GAWA NG VATICAN

    • ANG MAYAYAMANG BANSA AY HINDI CATHOLICO KASI DI NALABAS ANG PERA NILA DAHIL ANG RELIGION NILA AY KANILA DIN GAYA NG JAPAN CHINA, GERMANY, USA ,BRITAIN , RUSSIA

    • Mas mahigit seguro ay kasi tax exempt ang simbahan. Biro mo ang laki oala ng sticks nila sa ohilex mining, ayala corp, san miguel at ibp. Tax exmpt kuta nila dito. Jung nagbabayad ng tax di malaku sana kita ng gobiyerno para mabigyan serbisio ang public. Kaya naman pala sila tahimik sa mga mali gawa ng mining firms. Tahimik din sila sa oligarchs dahil sila mismo pala oligarchs. Kaya sila pro aquino. At isa pa na para sa akin ay pinakamasama pa ra sa pilipinas ay ang pag meddle nila sa affairs of state. Hindi nila sinusunod ang sabe ni jesus “leave to ceasar what is ceasars and to god what is gods”

  • Kung kailang dumipensa sa karapatan ng buhay, kung kailan nagsabi ng due process. Kung kailan nagsalita sa mahihirap na biktima. Mas mapanganib nga ang faith block kung nasa dulong konserbatibo sya. Meron nga dyan faith block sisigaw ng God is Great sabay big bang walang pakialam sa buhay ng iba. Kung Catholic faith ka, may karapatan na pero kung hindi sinasalsal mo lang sarili mo. At kung fans club ka lang ni Digong, hindi sila hibang tulad mo na sasakay lang sa isyung binubusabos ang mahihirap na tao.

  • Ang isang pagkakamali ay di maitutuwid pa ng isang pagkakamali iyan ang nangyyari sa ating gobyerno kapag napupuna sila sa mga kapalpakan nila hahanap sila ng ibang paraan para isisi sa iba kung si do30 tanggap nia ang kamaliaan at si gen bato nililinis ang buong kapulisan tanggap nila ang pagkakamali nila kayo d nio matanggap minsan ganyan talaga bumabaligtad ang mundo at wag kayong manisi ng iba!

  • Panahon pa ni cain at abel may criminal na pinatay ni cain s abel dahil sa ingit !!at tun magkapatid na babae nilasing ang ama para sumiping kaya huwag na kayo magtaka before jesus makasalanan na tao

  • Ano si gen bato nililinis mga pulis asan ?? Huwag ka nga tanga sila sila magkakasabwatan eh pilipino nga pinakamagaling sa kasinungalingan at kayang kaya lusutan ang butas ng karayom ugaling paikot ikot pasa pasa

  • This is a diversion. Come on, do you really expect the Church to overlook 7k+ EJK and police operations victims? Of course it condemns rape, but let us focus first on where the problem is greatest. #DU30 has to go!

    • really?study the holy inquisition from historical perspective.No! the church has to go.Or maybe you can go with them too if you want.But duterte is to stay and you must deal with it.Unless there is an evil plan to assassinate him.Because you know evil can have temporary victory.We trust him.As of today, no one else is up to fixing the country.Not even your Catholic church has a better alternative.Maybe they do, Leni. pwe!

    • Niki Ver This is your view, of course, because you are not Catholic. If you were, you would not be saying this. But don’t worry, the Church has survived two millennia of oppresion, it can survive six years. Or shorter, if he resigns or is impeached.

  • no religion can save a man`s soul God the father sent His only begotten son Jesus Christ to preach His teachings follow His teachings and surely you can have eternal life and that is what written in the Holy Bible

    • Jesus Christ’s religion is LOVE. Holy Love… to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength… and to love your neighbours as yourself. Let us pray for all the leaders in our country… secular and religious… for peace in the world and for conversion of sinners… that sinners will be given the gift of discerning the difference between good and evil. We are in a spiritual battle… just as we are seeing physically this battle around us… in the spiritual realm, the good angels are battling with the fallen angels and demons. PRAYERS are the most important weapon we have against evil. Keep praying and follow the Laws of God, written in your heart.