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Caramoran man nabbed for alleged child abuse
posted 10-Jan-2015  ·  

A businessman from Caramoran was recently arrested by the police in connection with a complaint filed by a 17-year old girl who claimed she was raped twice in a Virac hotel.

Elements of the Caramoran police led by SPO2 German Salameña arrested Rico Verano Benedicto, 38, a resident of Hitoma, last Dec. 3 at Inalmasinan by virtue of the arrest warrant issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras for violation of Section 10(A), Article VI of Republic Act 7610 docketed under Criminal Case 5241 with recommended bail of P80,000.

Originally, twin rape complaints were filed by the victim, Celine (not her real name), before the Provincial Prosecution Office. In a clarificatory hearing, Prosecutor I Donabel Breva-Bobier sough to re-view the CCTV footage at Rakdell Inn to verify the incident on March 11, 2014 but was informed by the manager that the CCTV can only store video for 15 days, after which the data is erased.

In her complaint, Celine said the respondent, whom she called “Tiyo Puro” is the owner of a softbroom factory where she worked when she had no classes.

On March 11, 2014, at 10 A.M., she sent a text message to him asking of his whereabouts and informing him that she wanted to advance P100 for her fare back to Caramoran. He told her to go to Rakdell Hotel. It was already 4 P.M. when Celine went from her boarding house to the hotel, where she was told by Rico to go to the third floor. The man was already waiting at the stairs, she said, and asked her to follow him to his room as his bag was inside.

Rico did not immediately give her the money and continued staring at her while lying on the bed. When she tried to run to the door, he blocked her way, held her by the hands, pulled her down to the bed and laid himself on top of her. He succeeded in removing her clothes and then abused her. She said she felt so weak and pained that she fell asleep.

When she woke up, Rico asked her to be his wife. She wanted to text her family but Celine said Rico had her cellphone. Rico raped her again and allowed her to go home at 12:30 A.M. the next day.

In her counter-affidavit, Benedicto denied the accusations and said Celine joined him at the hotel on her own volition. He said she sent her a text message saying he should stay overnight in Virac and look for a room.

He claimed he fetched her downstairs, watched TV shows and talked for a while before they found themselves already kissing. When she woke up afterwards, she asked for food from a nearby fastfood outlet and while eating, she warned him not to tell anyone what happened. They again coupled with each other that 9 P.M. after which he accompanied her to the tricycle ride back to her boarding house at 11 P.M.

In her resolution, Prosecutor Breva-Bobier expressed belief that none of the elements of rape is present in the case. She noted that Celine could not have known Rico was in Virac on that day other than prior understanding as stated by Rico.

It was stressed that the victim stayed at the hotel room for more than eight hours, during which she never mentioned in her affidavit that she asked for help. The prosecutor also described her sleeping after the first rape as a behaviour contrary to human dictates.

“What is just so sad about this is the fact that when the incident happened, (Celine) was just a few weeks advance from gaining the age of majority…,” the resolution stated.

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by Arlene Bueno  ·   11-Jan-2015  ·  
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