CEBU

Seares: 'Nasaan ang bakuna?' is the cry in Manila, not in Cebu yet. Prosecutors nix police claim that death of flight attendant is solved.

The Short of It

'Where are the vaccines?'

"ALL YAK-YAK." They are crying out for vaccines in Manila, center of the National Capital Region, with its leading radio commentators articulating the sentiment of their audience. (One survey though supposedly shows that only 25 percent of Metro Manilans want the vaccine.)

The gripe in Manila being this: inoculation has already been going on in neighboring Asian countries but here in the Philippines, we are still talking about it. One broadcaster plays the national anthem of Indonesia as he pounds on his complaint.

In the Senate and Malacañang, they talk about whether Congress can meddle with the PSG incident. President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly told the Senate to back off. Senator Franklin Drilon said the Senate cannot force PSG people to testify but the President cannot stop lawmakers from doing their job.

Who in Cebu are asking, "Hain na ang vaccines?" Cebuanos appear to have tons of patience. Even our local officials are not pressing the national task force on guidelines for purchase of vaccines by LGUs.

Makati fiscals say no

FILING ON RAPE PROVISIONAL. The Makati police have in their custody three of 11 persons accused in the homicide-rape of Catherine Angelica Dacera, a 23-year-old flight attendant of Philippine Airlines who was found dead in a bathtub last January 1 in a hotel room.

The 11 were charged in a complaint before the prosecutors' office. The charge is homicide with rape. As to the rape, however, the filing is provisional, which led to some confusion and jest over what a "provisional rape" is.

As of Wednesday night, January 6, however, the panel of prosecutors ordered a preliminary investigation, which would release the three respondents from police custody until the inquiry establish probable cause.

Forensic reports will resolved the question whether Dacera was physically assaulted and the abuse caused her death, not just aneurysm.

From "provisional rape," which was how the Makati police chief initially described the rape part of the charges, it has become no-rape-yet and even no-homicide-yet as well.

NARRATIVE NOT CLEAR. Two of the fuzzy areas:

[1] What happened at the New Year's Eve party: Catherine's mom in Davao said her daughter called her at 12:30 a.m., meaning she was still alive in the first hour of the new year. With three friends, who police said were gay, plus eight men from two rooms away joining the party.

Even if the lab results show she was drugged, beaten up, and sexually assaulted, police still have to prove the rape and that the rape led to the aneurysm or the enlargement the arterial wall of her heart.

Testimony of one or two persons who witnessed or took part in the abuse may clinch the case for the police.

[2] Is the case already solved even if there are some unanswered questions and the narrative is not yet clear? Police claim there is enough evidence to charge the offenders. The 11 offenders are charged before the prosecutor's office. Three are in custody and the remaining eight are at large.

Not all are arrested but under the police manual of operations and Napolcom memorandum-circular (#94-017 of June 20, 2016), the case is still considered solved since the arrest of some of the offenders is for "reasons beyond the control" of the police, such as when the victim refuses to prosecute or the offenders die or abscond. In the Dacera case, the other accused fled and escaped the law.

More worrisome than not getting the full narrative. If police and the prosecutors cannot stitch the story together and support it with evidence.

VICTIM-BLAMING. As in many rape incidents, the victim in Makati was blamed: "What was she doing in a room full of drunk men, with her being the only woman?"

Psychologists have reasons for victim-blaming but it does exist and must not be allowed to stymie prosecution.

ALL THE GUYS WERE GAY? One of the respondents reportedly said they could not have sexually assaulted Dacera as all the guys in the room were gay. Not one heterosexual or bisexual?

'Amen and awoman'

Representative Emmanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and United Methodist pastor, last Sunday (Monday, January 4 here) ended his prayer at the opening of the 117th Congress with this:

"We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God... God known by many names and by many different faiths. Amen and awoman."

"Amen" -- originally meaning "truth" or "certainty" and in Hebrew "it is so" or "so be it" -- is the typical ending to a Christian prayer.

Cleaver's attempt at gender punning ("considering the record number in Congress") confused scholars and prodded Republicans to call it stupid and nonsensical.


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