‘No money can compensate gangrape’

‘JASMINE’ narrates her ordeal to Tribune reporter Pat Santos on Thursday, 9 March 2023. | PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN HENRY DODSON FOR DAILY TRIBUNE @tribunephl_jhd

Since accusing 10 men of gangraping her two years ago in a town in Camarines Norte, “Jasmine,” a 31-year-old mother of two with Chinese mestiza features has been living in fear while grappling with depression.

Coming to Manila for an exclusive interview with Daily Tribune, Jasmine says she’s praying for a meeting with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla if only to underscore to government prosecutors that she’s not dropping her charges in exchange for any amount.

“I’ve been offered P300,000 by one of the accused, but no money could ever pay for the beastly things they did to me,” Jasmine said of the respondents who were allowed to post bail. “I want them in jail and, win or lose, I am pursuing the charges.”

She says that she’s been told that a video of the sexual attack on her has made the rounds of cellphones in the province, making her a “victim twice over.”

“For my mistake of accepting their offer for a few drinks, people in our town look down on me like it’s my fault, that any woman who trusts men is asking to be raped,” she said.

Jasmine has expressed befuddlement why people mandated by law to push her case so justice may be served have been asking her to settle for an extrajudicial settlement, claiming that a DNA test she prayed for before the court may amount to nothing.

In response to her motion that her “seminal-fluid soaked” underwear and all of the accused be subjected to DNA testing, the court required her to seek consent from those charged since collecting samples from them “involves privacy.”

The Supreme Court, however, in its “Rules on DNA Evidence, said any “court may, at any time, either motu proprio (on its own) or on application of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, order a DNA testing.”

Further, in its en banc resolution issued on 2 October 2007 (A.M. 06-11-5-SC), the SC said a court “shall order, where appropriate, that biological samples be taken from any person or crime scene evidence.”

Death threats

Jasmine says she’s been receiving death threats asking her to withdraw the case. She adds she’s also been threatened that the video of the rape would be spread on the Internet if she does not give up her case.

In that video based on what’s been told to her, the drunken men were allegedly shouting that she should be subjected to a “boodle fight” with her as the object of the feast instead of food.

Teary-eyed, she tells Tribune that the alleged rape happened after she peed in the toilet of the house where the merriment happened, recounting how the men held her arms and legs and took turns raping her on the floor.

“They just laugh as I cried and pleaded for them to stop. All I could think of at the time was how I could escape and survive for my two children,” Jasmine says.

“Now, I also wish to lend my voice to all women who had been abused to fight even if in doing so, we are ostracized by the very people who should be with us,” she adds.

“No money can compensate gangrape. I’ll fight on and so I hope those people tasked to help me would do, too, with the vigor shown at the start. That’s all I’m asking for.”

Article 226-B of the Revised Penal Code prescribes the penalty of life imprisonment when rape is committed “by two or more persons.”

According to Jasmine, her case should not be a mere case of “she-said, they-said” because there are material and physical pieces of evidence like her underwear from where DNA may be lifted to be matched with the respondents’ samples.

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