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July 21, 2008

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Today is the second year anniversary of Beth's (not her real name) rape by Fr. Gabriel Madangeng of the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate. She was 14 years old at the time of the incident that happened in Natonin Mission Convent on July 8 2006. She filed a complaint with the NBI-CAR office on December 27, 2006.

On August 3 will also be the second year anniversary of the Ana's (not her real name) rape by the same priest. This happened at the Sta. Rita Parish Convent in Bontoc, Mountain Province. She was repeatedly raped, the last incident was in December 11, 2006. She filed a formal complaint with PNP in Bontoc on February 26, 2007.

Both cases are now in the courts in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Innabuyog extends its support to the families of the victims and to those who are giving the moral support for them to pursue their cases. Both victims, including another one, are minors.

These cases of sexual offense are an affront to the dignity of a person, specially women. The offense is made heavier by the fact that the perpetrator is a man of cloth, by that makes him a person in authority and who exploited the innocence and fragile state of the victims. The sexual offense, noting that the incidents were repeatedly committed outrage not only the physical but the moral sense as well. These acts reinforce women's low status in society and the perception that they are weak, vulnerable and no more than a sex object.

In the victims' pursuit for justice, wholeness and peace of mind, Innabuyog urges the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate, the Conference of Bishops in the Philippines (CBCP) and the Commission of Clergy to apply the Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy which the CBCP drafted in 1995. We urge the Vicariate to apply its blanket authority by immediately suspending the erring priest, do the needed disciplinary action on him as a man of cloth and subject him to psychological evaluation and processing.

Considering the trauma that the minor victims continue to undergo, we urge the Vicariate to apologize to the victims, their families and the congregation as part of the healing process. The Vicariate must likewise look into the psycho-social re-estabilization of the victims and their families. Innabuyog believes that by doing so that the Vicariate upholds its mission in sustaining life and dignity of humanity.#

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