Movements like #HijaAko, #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport, which have been helping sexual abuse survivors gain the courage to speak up, show just how necessary the fight against sexual violence against women is, and that it’s far from over. Unfortunately, one recent case is putting that in clear view.
Over the weekend, netizens called out the police for the alleged murder and rape of 15-year-old Fabel Pineda. According to reports, Pineda took the courage to stand up against the police officers who allegedly abused her and her cousin and went to the Cabugao police station to file charges against them. However, she was killed by riding-in-tandem assailants not long after.
What happened to Fabel?
According to a statement issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Jul. 5, the Cabugao Municipal Police Station’s investigation records showed that Pineda and her 18-year-old cousin were arrested on Jul. 1 for “violation of curfew and were very drunk when two police officers allegedly took advantage of them” but Pineda was reported to have escaped. On Jul. 2, Pineda filed a complaint at the Cabugao police station against two police officers from neighboring town San Juan for acts of lasciviousness. After filing charges against the two police officers, Pineda requested for a security escort to accompany her and her family home but was denied.
On the same day, reports say that Pineda was on a motorcycle ride home with her family from the police station when two riding-in-tandem assailants knocked down their motorcycle and gunned her down. By the time she was brought to a local hospital, she was declared dead on arrival.
What’s going to happen to the accused?
According to the statement issued by the PNP, the llocos Sur police filed murder charges against Police Staff Sergeants Randy Ramos and Marawi Torda for Pineda’s death on Jul. 3. The two are currently under restrictive custody at the Ilocos Sur Police Provincial Office in Bantay Town (meaning they can not leave the office unless accompanied by another officer or guard) while awaiting further disposition by the court.
In the statement, PNP Chief General Archie Gamboa said he wants the “stiffest penalty” against the officers and referred to them as “not men in uniform but animals who deserve to be jailed for life. They have no mercy, no hearts, they are police who are worthless.”
The statement also mentioned that Gamboa ordered the Police Regional Office 1 chief to provide security to Pineda’s 18-year-old cousin who also filed charges against Ramos. The PNP chief said that he wants to make sure that all PNP prosecution witnesses are available in court proceedings to expedite the murder trial while conducting the summary administrative procedures.
On Jul. 4, the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Regional Office No. 1 issued a statement condemning the killing of Pineda and mentioned that they are conducting a separate investigation, however, their statement did not mention the sexual assault. The NAPOLCOM Regional Office No. 1 also assured that they will continue to maintain a policy of impartiality and due process to keep the PNP in check throughout this investigation.
On Jul. 6, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson said that he also wanted the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate investigation into Pineda’s murder.
“I want the [NBI] to investigate the case despite the police doing their investigation to have a fair investigation. To the family of [the victim], I assure you that we are fully supporting you as we will all seek justice,” Singson said.
How can we help?
Pineda’s relatives who accompanied her to the station were reported to be unharmed, thus, leaving many to speculate that the assailants targetted her right after she filed charges. This has driven several people to see her case as an act of silencing a victim of sexual assault.
As a call for justice, netizens including some of Pineda’s friends and classmates denounced her murder. Along with #JusticeforFabel, many are calling to continue to demand accountability until her murderers are punished.
We want Justice For Fabel, Killing Innocent lives, should not be tolerated, it should be punished by the Law and we the people Who care and Who want Equal rights for the humanity, Standing and Holding together Asking JUSTICE FOR OUR FRIEND FABEL PINEDA#JUSTICEFORFABELpic.twitter.com/Fl4DdP5mya
a 15 year old girl, filed a case against two policemen for rape. she requested an escort bc she had a strange feeling, but the police REFUSED. on her way home, she was gunned down to silence her. Fabel Pineda, a victim of police brutality. SAY HER NAME! #JusticeForFabel
Fabel Pineda, 15 yo girl, raped by cops, when she filed a report she wanted to be escorted home but was refused. she was later shot by her rapists. sana gets niyo na kung gano ka fucked up system natin. #JUSTICEFORFABELPINEDA
We reached out to Kenneth Serdenia, one of Pineda’s friends, on how we could help her family overcome their loss. He assured us that her family is already getting help and mentioned that we can help out by continuing to spread the news so that other young women won’t fall into the same fate as her. Moreover, he also encouraged everyone to remain vigilant and “do not keep your mouth shut.”
We offer our sincerest condolences to Pineda’s loved ones and we vehemently condemn her sexual assault and murder and demand for a proper investigation. Pineda’s case isn’t the only case involving silencing the victims and survivors of sexual abuse in our country. From Ben Tulfo’s victim-blaming statements to political leaders like US President Donald Trump questioning why survivors did not report any sooner, these all contribute to the silencing of sexual abuse victims and survivors which should not be tolerated any longer. Continue to help Pineda’s family by demanding accountability from her murderers. Say her name and sign the petition to bring justice to her and her family.