NGO Cries for Justice for Alleged Minor Rape Victims of Priest

By Xenia Ribaya
ABS-CBN Baguio

July 9, 2008

BONTOC, Mt. Province -- Today marks the third court hearing of the trial on the three counts of acts of lasciviousness and one count of rape in the case filed by "Lea", a 16-year-old minor against Fr. Gabriel Madangen Jr. of the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate.

Innabuyog-Gabriela said it strongly considers such cases of sexual offenses affront to the dignity of a person, especially women.

Vernie Yocogan-Diano, Innabuyog-Gabriela regional chair, said that the alleged offense was even made heavier by the fact that the perpetrator is a man of cloth, thus, a person in authority who exploited the innocence and fragile state of the victims.

"These acts reinforce women’s low status in society and the perception that they are weak, vulnerable and no more than a sex object," Diano added.

In the victim’s pursuit for justice, wholeness and peace of mind, Innabuyog urged the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the Commission of Clergy to apply the Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy which the CBCP drafted in 1995.

Innabuyog-Gabriela also stipulated the Vicariate should apply its blanket authority by immediately suspending the allegedly erring priest, mete the needed disciplinary action on him and subject him to psychological evaluation and processing.

Last Tuesday was the second year anniversary of "Lea’s" alleged rape by Fr. Gabriel Madangen Jr. She was 14 years old at the time of the incident that happened in Natonin Mission Convent on July 8, 2006. Her family filed a complaint with the National Bureau of Investigation – Cordillera Administrative Region (NBI-CAR) office on December 27, 2006.

On August 3 meanwhile will also be the second year anniversary of the alleged rape of another alleged victim, "Jenny" purportedly by the same priest. It allegedly happened at the Sta. Rita Parish Convent in Bontoc, Mountain Province. She was allegedly repeatedly raped; the last incident was allegedly in December 11. 2006. Her family filed a formal complaint with Bontoc police on February 26, 2007.

Both cases are now in the Regional Trial Court Branch 36 and presided by Judge Artemio Marrero.


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