No complaint yet vs. priest who ‘molested’ girl

THE Dumanjug Police Station, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 and the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) are conducting separate investigations on the allegations that a Catholic priest molested a 17-year-old girl in Dumanjug town.

Sr. Insp. Clemente Ceralde, chief of the Dumanjug Police Station, said they now have all the documents they need to proceed with the investigation.

They were also informed that the physical assessment of the girl showed that she was not raped, he said.

Even if there was no allegation of rape, the girl underwent the standard psychiatric and physical assessment at the Pink Room of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

On Friday, March 8, the girl reported to the police the incident on March 3 inside the priest’s room.

She narrated that when she went to the priest’s room to deliver his vitamins, he asked her to enter the room and later invited her to lie on his bed with him.

He allegedly kissed her. She told the police that she fell asleep on his bed and when she woke up, the priest was already on top of her.

Ceralde said they were supposed to arrest the priest, but he was no longer at the parish when the complaint was reported to them.

“We were not able to arrest the priest because the incident reportedly happened on March 3, but it was reported to us only on March 8. We learned that the girl has already approached the NBI 7 for the filing of the complaint,” Ceralde said in Tagalog.

(SunStar Cebu is withholding the name of the priest pending the filing of a complaint against him. He was also not named by the agencies conducting the investigation.)

Ceralde said they will coordinate with the NBI. For his part, NBI 7 Assistant Director Dominador Cimafranca said they cannot file a complaint against the priest yet because they still have to get his side and testimonies that will support the girl’s allegations.

He said they will also get the results of the girl’s physical assessment. The girl is scheduled to go back to the NBI 7 office in Cebu City for further interview.

Before extending legal assistance to the minor, the PWC will first investigate the minor and validate her complaint.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, the PWC chair, said they are careful in giving legal assistance to women who report abuse if the complaint is not validated.

The technical working group of the PWC will validate the girl’s claim before they provide her with a lawyer.

“We really investigate because sometimes gamiton man gud og rason, pananglitan nakasab-an or natangtang sa trabaho (it’s used as a reason, for instance, if they were scolded or removed from work),” Magpale said. (From SCG & AYB of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL, LRC)


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