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Philippine News Digest 103

March 9, 2007 · 

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Contents:
-Church group calls for end to US aid to Philippine military
-12-year-old girl raped, killed in Cebu
-American accused of molesting four girls in Tacloban

Church group calls for end to US aid to Philippine military
Philippine Daily Inquirer
by; Nikko Dizon

02/28/07

MANILA, Philippines — A Church-based group critical of the Arroyo administration dared the US government Wednesday to help stop the extra-judicial killings in the country by suspending all forms of support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In a statement, the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) said that US Embassy officials were merely “posturing” on the issue of extra-judicial killings that have claimed the lives, according to the human rights group Karapatan, of some 800 activists since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rose to power in 2001.

The group was apparently referring to US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, who on Monday urged the Philippine government to take steps to stop the killings.

The PCPR said the US government should stop “advising, funding, and giving all forms of support to the Philippine military whose current operations mainly serve to preserve Arroyo in power and eliminate administration critics.”

The PCPR added that most of the slain activists were against what it described as “US-directed policies of the Arroyo administration.”

Moreover, the PCPR called on international human rights bodies to also investigate the supposed involvement of the US government in the killings.

“In the first place, Oplan Bantay Laya II and all previous counter-insurgency measures implemented by the Philippine military have been heavily funded and supported by the US government as it wants to rid the Philippines of perceived threats to US interests,” Fr. Jerry Sabado, PCPR spokesperson, said in the statement.

12-year-old girl raped, killed in Cebu
by; Jhunnex Napallacan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
03/06/07

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A 12-year-old girl was raped and killed in a mountain village of Badian town, some 97 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

But a 50-year-old man tagged as a possible suspect committed suicide Monday dawn before he could undergo police investigation.

Tuigib village captain Luis Torino said the girl was stabbed 13 times.

The girl and her two younger siblings were on their way to school last Friday when she stopped by the spring to fetch water for the school plants as requested by her teacher.

When the child did not show up at school or return home, her parents asked for police help on Friday evening.

Torino said they found the girl’s body on Saturday morning at the grassy portion near the spring, about a kilometer from the school. The girl was found to have lacerations and blood on her private parts.

PO2 Joel Caballero, one of Badian police investigators, said a witness, Bertuldo Matas, told them that he saw Eduardo Caballero, a widower, on Friday morning, near the path the girl was supposed to pass in going to school.

But Matas admitted that he did not see the actual crime so the police invited Caballero for questioning set for last Monday. The policeman said Caballero’s daughter Gemma confronted him on Sunday evening about his alleged involvement in the girl’s death.

Caballero denied any involvement but vowed that he would not to surrender to the police, the policeman added.

At 4 a.m. Monday, Caballero went outside the house to relieve himself, but a few minutes later, Gemma heard him screaming.

When Gemma checked on her father, she found him lying on the ground with a bottle of pesticide. PO2 Caballero said they checked the house of Caballero on Monday after he committed suicide. They found a pair of shorts and shirts with bloodstains, and a 10-inch bolo, he said.

PO2 Caballero said the police believed that Caballero acted alone in the killing, although they said their investigation was not yet over. The police officer confirmed that Caballero previously faced a complaint of attempted rape but the case was settled amicably.

American accused of molesting four girls in Tacloban
by: Joey A. Gabieta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
03/06/07

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — The police filed a case against a US national for child molestation before the Tacloban City Prosecutors’ Office.

Larry Philips, 59, has been accused by four girls, aged 11, 13 and 14, of sexually molesting them on “several occasions” while they were inside his house located in Imelda Village, in the village of 36-A of this city.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed charges of violation of Republic Act 7610, otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” last Friday night before City Prosecutor Lourdes Hilvano.

But Philips, a resident of Tacloban City for two years, denied the allegations.

“(The) parents of these girls are only after one thing from me. They want money from me; that is why they encouraged their children to file a complaint against me. This whole thing is a set up,” Philips said.

Superintendent Efren Dalumpines, chief of the CIDG in Eastern Visayas said “Ana,” (not her real name), 13, accompanied by her parents, went to the police last Thursday morning to file a complaint against the American.

“She said that she was sexually molested by the American who touched her private parts,” Dalumpines told the Inquirer. Acting on Anna’s complaint, a CIDG team, headed by lawyer Leonidas Escoro, and joined by social workers from the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and village officials, arrested the suspect inside his house on the same day.

Escoro said the suspect was with three other minors, a 14-year-old and two 11-year-olds, at the time he was arrested at 11 pm.

“Later, these three minors also admitted that they were molested by the American,” he told the Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net. The four minors are now in the custody of the DSWD regional office.

Philips said the four minors were staying at his house for two weeks before they filed a molestation case against him. “I don’t know them except that they lived nearby. I welcomed them to my house and offered them food. And on several occasions, they even slept at my house,” Philips said.

Philips, a native of New Orleans, Lousiana, said the minors told him they were hungry so he offered help. “I am in total shock. This is what I get for helping these (girls),” he added.

Philips is confined at the Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Hospital due to, what his doctors said, a “back problem.”

A representative from the US Embassy, Vice Consul Edith Spirull, visited Philips on Tuesday morning but she refused to be interviewed. [End]

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