A 41-YEAR-OLD resident of Barangay Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City, was arrested on Monday, January 23, after authorities at Police Station 5 and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received information on his alleged abuse of his four-year-old niece.
Rodel Zurita, one of the barangay officers who responded to the complaints, said that the suspect (name withheld to protect the identity of the victim) was left to look after his niece while the victim’s mother is currently working in Manila.
Upon Zurita’s inquiry, neighbors of the suspect affirmed of the suspect's abuse as they have witnessed and heard him violently hitting the child every day.
Authorities found bruises, wounds, vaginal lacerations, and semen in the child's body which proved that the child has been tortured and possibly raped by the suspect. The child is now under the custody of DSWD.
The suspect, who is currently detained at Police Station 5, has denied abusing and raping his niece, claiming that he only reprimanded the child because he accidentally stepped on her urine when he was trying to wake her up that morning.
Zurita said the suspect will face charges against him for violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse law, if proven that he has inflicted grave danger upon his niece and if it is his semen that was found in the victim.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 24, 2017.