Bilibid inmate tries to rape 8-year-old girl inside prison
MANILA (UPDATED) - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Friday confirmed that an eight-year-old girl was a victim of attempted rape inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on New Year's Day.
Speaking to the press after a two-hour closed door meeting with NBP officials, De Lima said the inmates of NBP were enjoying their New Year's visit from their families when the victim, a daughter of an inmate at the maximum security compound, disappeared between 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday.
Between 4 to 5 p.m., the girl was found unconscious inside the comfort room of the maximum security compound's Roman Catholic Church with a rope entangled around her neck and her face full of bruises. She was found wearing no underwear.
De Lima said a witness saw the girl walk into the comfort room of the church with an inmate identified as Norvin Domingo, 34, a member of the Bahala Na Gang.
The child was revived at the NBP Hospital. De Lima said that had she been found any later, the victim would not have survived.
While the scene had all the indications of rape, initial medico-legal findings from the Philippine National Police (PNP) crime laboratory said that there was no physical consummation.
Reading from the report, De Lima said there were no evident congenital injuries nor lacerations on the victim's sexual organ.
De Lima, however, has ordered a second medico-legal inspection to be conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Domingo is currently being interrogated by NBP officials.
NBP officer-in-charge Richard Schwarzkopf declined to say whether the inmate in question has admitted to the crime.
But the inmate has since been removed from the Bahala Na Gang's cell because of the possibility of other inmates attacking him after news of the attempted rape spread.
De Lima disclosed that Domingo is a gang mate of the victim's father, and was also once detained with him in the Baguio City Jail prior to being committed into the NBP.
Domingo was sentenced to 4 years and 2 months to 8 years in prison for robbery with intimidation, and has been inside the NBP since July 2012.
A case against Domingo will be filed on Monday. De Lima asked the NBI to also investigate the circumstances behind the incident.
De Lima said she will also look into possible negligence and dereliction of duty on the part of the jail officers at the time.
When asked how she felt about yet another scandal involving the NBP, the justice secretary placed her hand to her chin and said her anger was already up to there.
She said that when she faced the NBP officials, she gave them a stern dressing down, and told them to pity the battered institution and that if they could not, they should leave.
She said if they were not strong enough to resist monetary temptations, then they should not serve with the NBP.
De Lima then walked to gate 4 of Bilibid to inspect it, after having determined that this was the gate most vulnerable to the smuggling in of illegal items and even sex workers.