US report highlights rape cases related to Philippine drug war

5 years ago 0 Comments

MANILA – At least 8 cases of rape were lodged against 16 policemen in the Philippines between January 2017 and July 2018, the US State Department said in its annual report, released Thursday.

Aside from cases filed before courts, reports of rape and sexual abuse of women in police or protective custody also occur in the Philippines with "many of the rapes" done in connection with police anti-drug operations, the US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 read.

It did not mention the status of the rape cases against uniformed officials as "statistics were unavailable on prosecutions, convictions, and punishments for cases filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP)."

The study gave credit to authorities for taking rape cases "seriously," but noted that rape suspects in smaller localities "sometimes used personal relationships with local authorities to avoid prosecution."

"In August a witness reported a rape and murder to authorities. Authorities asked the witness to identify the suspects, which he did, and police arrested the suspects in less than 24 hours," it said.

There were 7,584 reported rape cases in the Philippines in 2017, a 12 percent decline from the number of cases in 2016, the study said, citing data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The government "provided shelter, counseling, and health services to female survivors of rape," but many rape victims remain hesitant to approach authorities due to "cultural and social stigmatization," the report noted.

Under Philippine law, those convicted of rape would be sentenced to 12 to 40 years imprisonment or a lifetime ban from political office if the perpetrator is an elected official.

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