Rape, trafficking victims’ custodian under watch

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


SUSPICIOUS-looking men were spotted in Barangay Consolacion asking for information of two female minors who had filed rape and human trafficking charges against a leader of religious group in Zamboanga del Sur, the victims’ guardian said.

Gina Idulsa, the custodian of Lina, 17, and Gay, 15 (not their real names), told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that her neighbors informed her of men who appeared to be following and quizzing information about her.

They were reported to be casing in the neighborhood in several occasions where she and the children reside, Idulsa said.

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Idulsa, however, said she did not fear them.

“Wala man ko mahadlok nga naay nangita namo kay tua na man ang kaso sa DOJ (I am not afraid of those men since the case has already been forwarded to the DOJ),” she added.

Although confident, Idulsa is not taking any chances and has told the girls to stay indoors and not allow strangers enter their home.

Asked who could possibly order those men to put her under watch, Idulsa suspected that it might have something to do with the criminal charges the minors had filed against a certain Jose Elbiña.

It can be recalled that based on their separate affidavits, Lina and Gay claimed they were allegedly abused sexually and physically by Elbiña, the leader of the Qahal Qadesh Am Foundation Temple located at Barangay Mahikay, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur.

Both the victims said the abuses happened while they were staying inside the Temple between 2012 and 2013.

Like the other youth staying there, the girls said they were also barred from getting out of the compound. The two, however, managed to escape on October 16, 2013.

After fleeing Zamboanga del Sur, Lina and Gay sought refuge in Idulsa’s residence where they received support from the women’s group Gabriela.

In a previous interview with this paper, Elbiña denied ever raping Lina and Gay citing he is suffering from a medical condition— erectile dysfunction—that prevents him from having sexual copulation, as he called the allegations as “fabricated and untrue.”

Although the complaints filed by Lina and Gay were then handled by the Lanao del Norte Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Elbiña wanted them to be heard outside northern Mindanao, arguing the legal proceedings could be influenced by Regional Prosecutor Jaime Umpa.

Elbiña and Umpa were previously at loggerheads when the former complained that his vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner, was taken from him forcibly by Aurora police supposedly on order of Umpa.

Umpa said the vehicle Elbiña claimed as his was actually owned by the former who said that it was carjacked about two years ago.

Elbiña countered that he bought the car in good faith and accused Umpa of blowing up the cases as a “cover-up.”

To avoid being accused of possibly influencing the charges against Elbiña, Umpa requested Lanao del Norte Provincial Prosecutor Diosdado Cabrera asking him to forward the human trafficking and rape complaints to Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary Leila De Lima.

At present, the cases Elbiña is facing are now in the hands of the DOJ in Manila.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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