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Philippine News Digest 114

May 21, 2007 · 


=Woman drops rape complaint vs Iloilo priest
=Dulmatin’s children to be deported to Indonesia
=RP reelected to UN human rights council

Woman drops rape complaint vs Iloilo priestBy David Israel Sinay
Last updated 03:14am (Mla time) 05/25/2007

ILOILO CITY—The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed two counts of rape filed against a priest here after the woman who sued him withdrew the cases.

Provincial prosecutor Bernabe Dusaban approved the recommendation of assistant prosecutor Portia Cabalum for the dismissal of the complaint against Martin Alarcon, the assistant parish priest of Carles town.

The 25-year-old woman withdrew the complaint because “she cannot attend the hearing of the cases, thus she is no longer interested to prosecute further the same,” according to Dusaban’s resolution dated May 2 and released only yesterday.

“She may not be able to sustain and establish the guilt of the respondent beyond reasonable doubt,” Dusaban said.

The woman had claimed that Alarcon raped her twice—on Feb. 1 and 6—at his house in Leganes town in Iloilo after she tried to break a month-long love affair with him.

The woman’s lawyer, Edeljulio Romero, said his client wanted to “finish the case immediately and live a normal life.”

She plans to work abroad and the case might hinder her plans, Romero added.

Romero said since the filing of the complaint, her client had become anxious.

But Alarcon insisted there was no basis for the rape charges.

He lamented that the filing of the case and the subsequent media coverage has destroyed his reputation.

The woman also filed a separate charge against three priests and a nun for obstruction of justice and illegal detention.

She withdrew that case, too.

Alarcon has been relieved of his duties at the Carles parish church.

Dulmatin’s children to be deported to Indonesia
By Tetch Torres
Last updated 04:37pm (Mla time) 05/24/2007

THE BUREAU of Immigration has ordered the deportation of four children of wanted Indonesian terrorist Dulmatin, 12 days after they were found by solders in a safe house in Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines.

Immigration chief Marcelino Libanan said the children, aged nine, seven, five and two, will be sent back to Indonesia following a request from the Indonesian government.

“They are undocumented aliens who should be deported for violating our immigration laws,” he said.

The four children, who are under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will be banned from re-entering the country.

Dulmatin, a bomb expert of the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiya regional terror network, has been the subject of manhunt operations by the military.

RP reelected to UN human rights council By Michael Lim Ubac, Cynthia Balana
Last updated 05:19am (Mla time) 05/19/2007

MANILA, Philippines—Government officials are taking the Philippines’ reelection to another three-year term at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) as a vindication for the country and a vote of confidence by the international community in the Philippines’ commitment to human rights.

“This is a recognition by the member states of our sincere efforts to address issues of human rights, promoting conflict resolution through interfaith dialogue and our strong advocacy for the rights of migrant workers,” said Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.

Ambassador Hilario Davide, the Permanent Representative to the UN, reported that the Philippines placed third in the election on Thursday for new council members. At least 16 countries vied for 14 new seats in the 47-member UNHRC.

In his report, Davide said the country obtained a total of 179 votes, 43 more than the votes it received when it was elected to a first term in 2006.

Davide said the reelection was a “vindication for the Philippines and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo” in the face of a campaign by non-government organizations to frustrate the country’s reelection bid because of alleged rights abuses.

The HRC election was held against a backdrop of strong opposition from civil society groups to the candidacies of alleged rights violators like Belarus and Egypt.

Romulo said the Philippines, in its reelection campaign, had made certain voluntary commitments, including a strengthened resolve to address politically motivated killings of journalists and activists, sustained leadership in promoting interfaith dialogue, continued advocacy of the rights of migrant workers and commitment to making the HRC a more efficient and effective organization.

The HRC, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, was created on March 15, 2006 to replace the discredited UN Commission on Human Rights, which was often criticized for the high-profile positions it gave to member states that did not guarantee the human rights of their own citizens.

The Philippines has been criticized internationally, particularly by the United States and the European Union, for its worsening human rights record.

The UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, in a preliminary report to the HRC last March, accused the government of tolerating extra-judicial killings by the military.



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