Cops arrest mastermind in gang-rape of nurse

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010


COTABATO CITY -- Police arrested over the weekend a former militiaman who admitted to have masterminded the gang-rape of a volunteer nurse in the hinterland village of South Upi town in Maguindanao province.

South Upi Mayor Abdula Campong said rape suspect Boy Beling admitted to the crime during his arrest but denied that his son was among the suspects in the gang-rape of the 21-year-old volunteer of South Upi Municipal District Hospital.

"He admitted to police of his participation in the rape," Campong said in a radio interview. It was not known whether the statement of the suspect was taken in the presence of his lawyer.

Florence (not her real name) was on her way to visit a midwife in Barangay Nuro in Upi last week when flagged down and dragged to a corn field by at least 10 suspects who took turns in raping her.

Only seven suspects have been arrested so far by the operatives of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).

Beling, a former government militiaman, is a worker of Korean construction firm Hanjin Corporation. The firm is constructing a highway that connects Maguindanao and Sarangani provinces.

Senior Superintendent Jacinto Malionao, CIDG director in Armm, said Beling, 35, was arrested at his home in Barangay Romonggaob in South Upi and some evidences were found in his possession.

Rey Insular, owner of the videoke house where Florence and some of the alleged suspects were last seen, said the six suspects earlier arrested were innocent of the crime. 

“They were the victim’s friends and they were the first to respond and rushed her to the hospital, but they were arrested by the police and charged,” Insular said.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu ordered the arrest of the six suspects a day after the gang-rape took place.

The mother of one of the arrested suspects cried foul over the detention of her son.

"He was just invited to shed light on the case. Why would the police detain him? My son and his friends had just helped the girl get to the hospital. We were surprised because the police told us our son is among the suspects," said the mother, who refused to be identified.

The mother said four of the "real" suspects in the gang-rape, one of whom was scion of a rich and influential family in South Upi, were placed under the custody of one of the politicians in town.

"Where's justice here? They picked the wrong persons just to tell to everyone that the gang-rape has been solved," the mother said.

But according to Campong, no son or relative of any political figure in South Upi was involved in the crime.

The victim who is now recuperating at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in this city has been declared half paralyzed by her doctor.

Dr. Tahir Sulaik, provincial health officer of Maguindanao, said the severe head injuries sustained by Florence when she was raped by at least 10 men caused half of her body to become immobile.

Sulaik said the trauma with nerve injury in the head may lead to paralysis.

The victim, however, is conscious, according to the hospital staff.

The victim's father, Carlos, who is a carpenter, has appealed for monetary assistance to support his daughter’s medication.

But, Dr. Sulaik said he has already prepared the stipend or honorarium of Florence for her six-month contract with the government as volunteer nurse for the Nurses Assistance for Rural Services program of the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Employment.

Last week, Armm executive secretary Naguib Sinarimbo handed over to the family of Florence some P64,000 in assistance, an amount donated by regional officials and employees. (Malu Cadeliña Manar/PNA/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 05, 2010.

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