MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday expressed alarm over the alleged rape of 2 female detainees by Marikina City policemen, lamenting that "even in times of crisis, women and girls are at risk of and are victims of different forms of gender-based violence."
In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said protection of human rights can not be compromised, including those of the accused and persons deprived of liberty, even in the face of a national emergency.
"The (CHR) is alarmed with the recent incident involving the alleged rape of detainees by two police officers of Marikina City," de Guia said.
"All individuals under investigation or involuntary restraint have the right against all forms of threats and violence," she said. "These rights are made available the moment an arrest or detention, with or without a warrant, is made."
De Guia said "gender-based violence against women detainees stresses the importance of keeping our response mechanisms functional, otherwise we leave many women and girls without recourse during this health crisis—this is even more urgent for women who are in vulnerable situations like women in detention."
The agency called on the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to monitor the case and ensure accountability so it does not happen again.
It also reiterated its recommendation that local government units (LGUs) provide alternative secondary health care facilities for victims of gender-based violence, in case health care systems are strained by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
The commission reminded "government agencies that in time of crisis, the obligation to protect women and persons of diverse SOGIE from gender-based violence does not only remain, but should be emphasized."
The 2 policemen, who hold the rank of patrolman, were accused of raping the female detainees inside the Station Special Operations Unit of Marikina City Police.
They were arrested on Monday and are facing complaints for violating Republic Act 8533 or The Anti-Rape Law of 1997.