Friday, August 8, 2003

Malaysian cop gets jail term for rape of Filipino

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian police officer was sentenced to 17 lashes with a cane and 15 years in prison for raping two foreign women in a Kuala Lumpur police station last year, news reports said Friday.
Razali Pilen, 27, was found guilty of raping a 24-year-old woman from Indonesia and a 23-year-old from the Philippines, The New Straits Times newspaper reported.
The ruling by Sessions Court Judge Mohamed Saman Mohamed Ramli reversed Razali’s earlier acquittal. Government prosecutors had successfully applied for a new trial.
Razali claimed the two women had consented to having sex with him on February 24, 2002, while they were detained in police cells for working illegally in Malaysia.
The judge rejected Razali’s defense, and said his crimes were more grave because he was a police officer on duty and the attacks occurred at a police station.

Oct. 15, 2002

Mahathir: Manila owes KL an apology over rape uproar

Agence France-Presse

KUALA LUMPUR -- The Philippines government owes Malaysia an apology for causing an uproar over the case of a 13-year-old girl allegedly raped in Malaysia's Sabah state, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Tuesday.
The girl charged she had been raped at a detention center before being one of thousands of Filipinos deported in a crackdown on illegals in Sabah.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wrote to Mahathir asking him to act on the case, which sparked widespread outrage in the Philippines.
Malaysia then dispatched a three-member probe team to Manila to interview the girl, who has identified three guards as her attackers.
But Malaysian police this week said the girl was not Filipina but a Malaysian citizen who was wrongly deported.
"I think they should (apologize). They jumped to the conclusion that we rape people," Mahathir told reporters.
"You have to be a little bit more sensitive and a little bit more cautious in making statements that can lead to souring of relations between countries."
The premier said it was not unusual the girl was wrongly deported because "she was found among them, she was wandering around without any address."
He said further investigation was necessary to ensure the girl was not lying.
"Even if there is a rape case, let's find out first if the rape is committed, before jumping to conclusions. This girl, I understand, is one of those street children. You don't know what she's been up to," he added.
Sabah police commissioner Ramli Yusuff said Tuesday that DNA tests confirmed the girl was a Malaysian citizen.
The daughter of a Malaysian man and Filipina woman, who had since divorced, the girl had been staying with her grandmother in Sabah when she was taken into custody, he said.
Arrangements were being made to return her to Malaysia and further investigations would be conducted into the complaint.
Justice Secretary Hernando Perez last month said he had been informed by a Malaysian lawyer that he would recommend charges be filed against the three guards identified by the girl.

September 06, 2002

Mahathir vows full probe in rape case

From Barbara Mae Dacanay/Noralyn Mustafa

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed yesterday promised a full inquiry into charges that a policeman raped a Filipina deportee, following a sharp protest by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo.
"The Malaysian government and I, personally, view with serious concern the allegation made by a Filipino minor... that she was a victim of sexual molestation in one of the detention centres in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah," he said in a statement.
"I would like to assure the government and people of the Philippines that appropriate action will be taken against those responsible, in accordance with Malaysian laws," Mahathir added.
Earlier, Arroyo sent a letter to Mahathir to express her "personal outrage" at the reported rape of a 13-year-old Filipina in a detention centre for illegal aliens in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
In her letter, Arroyo asked Mahathir for "swift action" on the said reports, adding: "I express my personal outrage and that of the Filipino people (for the dastardly act), which I am sure you will also condemn in the strongest terms."
Dr Al Wajer Himpson confirmed in a hospital report that Tsina, 13, was raped while in a detention centre in Kota Kinabalu.
Social welfare officials confirmed Tsina's fate. She was one of the 500 Filipinos who arrived in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, from Sandakan on a Philippine Coast Guard ship last Tuesday, sources said. Arroyo also sent Secretary for Special Concern, Norberto Gonzales, to meet Mahathir in Kuala Lumpur.
Asked by reporters how he felt about the strongly-worded complaint from Arroyo, Mahathir said: "Well, it is strongly worded because they feel very angry about it. And our people should learn that they cannot get away with this kind of thing. This is damaging for them and the nation."
Philippine Foreign Secretary, Blas Ople, summoned Malaysian Ambassador, Noor Taufik Mohammed, to personally hand over Arroyo's letter to Mahathir, and the country's second diplomatic protest, over the alleged abuse last Wednesday.
"The Philippine government condemns in the strongest terms this outrage and urgently requests the government of Malaysia to conduct a swift and thorough investigation of the report, leading to the prosecution and trial of those found responsible," Ople said in the diplomatic protest.
"This calls to question Malaysian adherence to the United Nations convention on human rights, especially those of women and children, and may constitute an act of aggression against civilisation itself," said the protest letter.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary, Lauro Baja, confirmed: "We are exploring the option of bringing it to a regional forum or to the United Nations.
"The chief minister of Sabah and the police authorities there are already aware of the case and are conducting their own investigation. At the moment, we are stressing a bilateral solution to this issue," Baja said.
The two countries might elevate the resolution of their conflict during the leaders summit of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) in Cambodia in November, added Baja.
Both countries must resolve the issue soon since the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia are involved in a regional accord against terrorism, Baja noted.
Meanwhile, the Philippines' nine-man fact-finding team led by Nur Jaafar interviewed Michelle Lim Sakaluran, 24, who was reportedly sexually abused while in detention in Sandakan, Sabah.
Reports said that Sakaluran acted strangely while talking to members of the Philippine fact-finding team and Filipino reporters.
She pretended to do a strip tease, which seemed to confirm what another deported Filipino, who requested anonymity, stated: "Most of them lost their minds. They were not paid and were deprived of food."
Sakaluran went to Sandakan to look for her missing mother, Edna Lim, on Nov. 15, 2001.
A consular team and the Commission on Human Rights have been gathering affidavits of the victims for "possible action" against their Malaysian abusers, said government sources.
Arroyo sent the Philippine fact-finding team to look into complaints of sexual abuse and deaths arising from the mass rounding up and deportation of illegal Filipino migrants to Malaysia.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Call to suspend deployment of Filipinas to Malaysia

From Our Correspondent

MANILA — Senate Majority Leader Loren Legarda yesterday urged the government to suspend the deployment of Filipino domestic helpers in Malaysia in retaliation to the maltreatment of Filipino deportees in Sabah.
Legarda’s suggestion followed the filing of a second diplomatic protest by the Department of Foreign Affairs with Malaysia over the reported rape of a 13-year-old Filipino girl by a Malaysian police in one of the detention centres for undocumented workers in Sabah.
Legarda said the rape was confirmed in a hospital report.
“If this really happened, our workers especially women in Malaysia are not safe in that country,” she said.
Legarda earlier filed Senate Resolution 433 to investigate the reported sexual slavery of detained Filipino women by policemen in Tauao police station in Malaysia.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said that an average of 6,000 Filipino workers were being deployed to Malaysia every year.
Last year, a total of 6,228 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) had been deployed in Malaysia based on the POEA monitoring.
Of this number, service workers represented the biggest number of placed workers in that country. Other categories were production, construction and professional workers.
Legarda said she will ask the Commission on Human Rights to file appropriate charges against the Malaysian police for the abuse of a Filipino girl while in detention.
At least 13 Filipino children reportedly died due to dehydration and disease while in the process of being deported by Malaysian authorities.
Meanwhile, Senator Teresa Aquino-Oreta urged Malacanang to put in place contingency plans to ensure the safe and smooth repatriation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented OFWs who may be sent home from Israel, Italy and elsewhere around the world.
Oreta said there was a need to prepare for the deportation of undocumented OFWs especially now that the global economic downturn has spiked unemployment rates in areas that used to welcome workers.
She said the possibility that 200,000 undocumented OFWs from Israel and Italy would be forced to go home should prompt the government to give it utmost attention.
“What we have feared a long ago now looms before us,” she said.
“The global economic slump and the paranoia triggered by the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States has forced governments hosting OFWs to flush out illegal workers and send them home,” she added.
Reports said that no less than Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas has expressed concern over the massive crackdown by foreign governments on undocumented workers.
Oreta said there was need to prepare a re-integration programme for OFWs to prepare for their expected exodus from foreign countries.