7 March 2017

With or without death penalty, rape of a woman or child every 62 minutes will continue, according to Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a 35-year research and training institution for women.

The latest data from Philippine National Police Women’s Desk (PNP-WCPC) reveals an additional 7,037 rape cases from January to October 2016. This means that a woman or child is raped every 62 minutes. CWR says that for a decade (2005-2014), the number of recorded rape cases total 52,453 (including incestous and attempted rape). Of this number, 75% of the victims are children.

“The execution of a convicted rapist in 1999 did not stop abusers from raping women and girls. During that same year, 2,842 children were reportedly victims of rape. Given a corrupt system and a culture of impunity where the rich and the powerful can go scot-free, death penalty will always be a contentious method to curb criminality in the country,” explains CWR executive director Jojo Guan.

Guan says women from the lowest wealth quintile face more violence like rape. “Their indigent condition makes them vulnerable to abuses and sexual exploitation. With lack of economic resources, they could not afford the expensive, long, and tedious judicial process. Thus, justice remains elusive to the marginalized victims.”

The bill on death penalty will only further violate women’s rights, Guan says. “There is a great possibility that this will be used as an additional instrument to curb political dissent and punish human rights activists. As it is, there are still more than 30 women political detainees who are languishing in jail with trumped up charges. Another criminal charge of drugs can be fabricated against them.”

Guan adds, “death penalty, in the present system, will only be beneficial to the powers-that-be. Social justice is denied as long as a quarter of our country’s riches only belong to a few elite.” ###