Rape as state violence

The recent incident of rape involving a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is enraging. But what is even more infuriating is the admission of PO1 Eduardo Valencia when he was presented to PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde. To quote, “Sir, may pamilya po ako. Sir, hindi na po bago sa’ting mga operatiba ‘yung gano’n kapag may nahuhuli po tayong drug pusher, sir.” (I have a family, sir. It is not new with our operatives when we arrest a drug pusher, sir.”

The victim is the 15-year old daughter of the spouse who was arrested by the police for alleged drug pushing. Based on the reports, Valencia told the teenager that her parents would be cleared of charges if she agreed to be used.

Although higher ranks of the PNP vowed to give justice to the girl who tested positive for laceration, they also tried to downplay Valencia’s statement saying that accusations, such as rape, against the police are nothing new as it was only a “retaliation” by drug suspects who are arrested in the government’s anti-illegal drugs operation.

But a study of the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a 36-year old research and training institution for women, revealed that there are 56 policemen who were involved in 33 cases of violence against women. This was since President Duterte was elected, from July 2016 up to October 2018.

According to CWR, 12 of these cases are drug related, meaning, victims were either drug suspects, relatives of drug suspects, or were assaulted during drug-related operations. There were 16 cases of rape, while seven cases were acts of lasciviousness. Thirteen cases also involved victims who are minors.

Instead of addressing this, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., PNP spokesperson resorted to discrediting the CWR, calling their data as fake news and riding on the rape incident even if the data was first released in July of this year – ahead of Valencia’s rape of the teenager.

No matter how the PNP tries to protect its name the fact still remains: that those who committed crimes were from within their ranks.

In the government’s so-called war on drugs, the PNP’s reputation dived to the lowest level. Thousands from the poor alleged of being drug pushers or users were killed without due process, their daughters raped, money being extorted in exchange for clearing their names. What could the powerless do if they are being threatened by the powerful?

Indeed, the war on drugs is not solving the problems plaguing our country. As Gabriela Women’s Party has said, the “incident confirms the institutionalized abuse of women and children within the PNP, with police officers using the fake war on drugs to prey on vulnerable targets.”

It only emboldens authorities to commit crimes against the people it should be protecting.

Ultimately, the culture of impunity under the Duterte administration reigns and intensifies. We heard many times over the news how he defended the police or any official from his wrongdoings and how he freed them from any accountability or even encouraged them to commit crimes.

Let us remember what he said:

Pag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin ‘yun.Duterte said addressing the 2nd Mechanized Infantry (Magbalantay) Brigade on May 26, 2017 after the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.

“Shoot them in the vagina,” Duterte said referring to the female revolutionaries of the New People’s Army. He said this in his speech in front of the reported rebel returnees at the Malacanang Palace.

Duterte also defended cops involved in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parajinog, and the police arrest of tambays – all these without court due process.

Not only does the PNP take its cue from Duterte’s misogynistic remarks, what we are seeing is the use of rape as an instrument of the state against the poor. ()

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