DOJ marshal accused of rape airs feelings, may sue complainant-A A +A
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
IT is said that time heals all wounds.
But a Department of Justice (DOJ) marshal does not think so.
“I cannot forgive her,” said Romelo Pabroa, the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP) marshal, in Cebuano.
He was referring to a woman who accused him of raping her 36 times inside the safe house early this year.
“What she had done caused so much damage to me and my department,” Pabroa said.
Pabroa was later cleared by government prosecutors of sexual assault charges.
Acting City Prosecutor Felixberto Geromo pointed out that 21-year-old Claire (real name withheld) was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, which would explain why her claims were inconsistent.
In the resolution, Geromo cited the psychiatric evaluation report that Dr. Rene Obra conducted on Claire.
Aside from post-traumatic disorder, Obra, a psychiatrist and head of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for Behavioral Sciences, said Claire also suffered from hyper-sexuality and malingering, or voluntary production of physical or psychological symptoms.
“Just imagine it (rape) happening 36 times, at the same venue, without a shout or a cry for help from the victim,” Geromo said.
Claire initially said he raped her three times inside the WPP safe house in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
However, she later changed her mind and said he raped her 36 times between January and July this year.
In an interview, 40-year-old Pabroa said he was elated and felt vindicated by the dismissal of the complaint.
He also shared his thoughts on how he coped with the trauma after being accused of serious offense.
Prior to the case dismissal, he said not all of his friends believed in him.
Pabroa recalled some even ridiculed him.
“Ka-gwapo nimo mang-rape ka? Ikaw unta ang reypon (You’re too handsome to rape anyone.
You should be the one being raped),” he said, quoting a friend.
But what hurt him the most was when his two children stopped from going to school because their schoolmates bullied them.
He said he was forced to avail himself of loans to support his family after he was placed under preventive suspension for three months.
Pabroa said his wife, who just gave birth to their third child, turned livid when she learned in the media that her husband was accused of raping a woman.
It also came to a point where he stopped reading newspapers, or listening to the radio.
He lamented that some media entities attacked and judged him without even getting his side.
He said the way the two National Bureau of Investigation officers interrogated him during the lie-detector test made him feel like he murdered an entire barangay.
Despite the hardships, Pabroa said his faith in God and in his family encouraged him to hold on.
He said the support and encouragement of Prosecutors Llena Ipong-Avila and Grame June Elmido also helped him survive.
His family members, high school classmates and close acquaintances talked to him and voiced their disbelief about the charges.
Pabroa said he had no regrets he joined the DOJ-WPP as a marshal.
He said he prayed that if the case would be dismissed, he will continue serving the program, even without salary.
When asked if he would press damage suit against the victim, Pabroa said he will consult first his superiors in the WPP.
Pabroa said the case taught him to keep a considerable distance from his companions in the safe house.
Prosecutor Avila, the WPP’s chief implementer in Central Visayas, said they expected the dismissal of the complaint.
“We are happy that the complaint was eventually dismissed,” Avila said.
She admitted, though, that the controversy affected their department.
The prosecutor said they are willing to provide legal assistance to Pabroa should he pursue the filing of counter-charge against the complainant.
Avila said the WPP is currently not accepting female applicants, provided they would be accompanied by their family members.
Avila said WPP is also processing the release of salaries of Pabroa that were withheld during his suspension.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2013.