DISMISSAL OF OKINAWA RAPE CHARGES DENOUNCED

Women’s Partylist group Gabriela today said the outright dismissal of rape charges against the US serviceman accused of raping a Filipina in Okinawa is a grave injustice. “We feel that our kabaro has been
victimized twice over in the name of foreign relations.”

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Largoza Maza said “it is apparent that both the Japanese and Philippine governments have succumbed to pressure from the United States. That the statement of the accused
failed to agree with that of the victim is not a sufficient enough reason to have the charges dropped.”

Japanese prosecutors cited dropped the charges last Friday, with Deputy Chief Prosecutor Takafumi Sato being quoted saying, “The man does not accept the accusation. Just because the two parties disagree
on their argument, a rape charge does not stand on its own under the Japanese law.”

Maza also scored the lack of transparency in the handling of the case. “Filipino migrant and women’s organizations in Japan as well as in the Philippines who were ready to lend any form of support to the victim
were never updated on the case by Philippine officials. We were never updated as to whether these officers were there to ensure justice or to ensure her silence.”

The alleged rape occured last February 18, 2008 at a hotel in Okinawa, barely a week after a 14-year old Okinawan girl was also raped by another US serviceman. The Filipina was hospitalized for several days
after the incident and was then placed under the custody of Philippine embassy officials.

Gabriela Reps. Maza and Luz Ilagan are coauthors of House Resolution 51, a resolution initiated by Rep. Cynthia Villar and adopted by the House last March 2008, which expressed the support of Congress for the
Filipina rape victim.

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Filed under News Release, VAW, Visiting Forces, Women

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