MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Popular singer-actress Sharon Cuneta plans to sue the man who threatened to rape her 19-year-old daughter Frankie Pangilinan, who called out men who wrongfully blame rape victims for wearing “inappropriate” clothes.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Cuneta contacted him and “expressed her strong desire to file a criminal complaint against the person who posted the offending message in social media, ” adding that Cuneta and her daughter can file charges with the Department of Justice even if the culprit resides overseas.
“We shall verify the respondent’s identity and address for the purpose of giving him notice, ” Guevarra said.
He said Cuneta, through her own efforts, had already tracked down the identity, location and the employer of the man who threatened her daughter.
In her Instagram account, the actress posted on June 20 an image of a certain “Sonny Alcos, ” who allegedly posted the threat.
The post read: “Pasalamat ka iha [sic], kung ang edad ko 12 yrs. magtago ka na sa tatay mong senador Kiko Matsing Pangilinan dahil hahanapin kita para gahasain. Tapos sisihin mo tatay mo. Dahil hindi ako makukulong (Be thankful young lady. If I were 12 years old you should hide behind your father Senator Kiko Matsing Pangilinan because I will look for you and rape you. Then you can blame your father. Because I will not be jailed.)”
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Cuneta’s husband and Frankie’s father, was the principal author of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, or Republic Act No. 9344, that set the minimum age for criminal liability of minors at 15 years old.
The man who posted the message appeared to be responding to Frankie’s posts that stirred a social media discussion on rape after she called out controversial broadcaster Ben Tulfo for saying that women were “inviting the beast” when they wear sexy outfits.
The 19-year-old replied that that view encouraged a culture of rape and asserted that “rape would not exist without rapists, ” sparking a lively exchange under the viral hashtag #HijaAko.
Cuneta also joined the fray and called the poster an “a**h**e of a father” and an embarrassment to President Duterte, whom he allegedly supports.
Cuneta said the man had already deleted his social media accounts and changed his photos but she vowed to hunt him down, report him to his employer and relay the information to Guevarra “who has been my friend and lawyer since 1992.”
Although the offensive message was deleted, it was screen-grabbed and posted on the troll-shaming Facebook page “DDS Confessions” and later shared by Frankie herself and her mother.
The Gabriela women’s party list, on the other hand, blasted the “rotten fanaticism” of President Duterte’s partisans who were spewing hate speech and rape threats on social media against critics of the administration, especially women.
“No one deserves to be threatened with sexual violence for merely voicing out political beliefs, ” Gabriela said in a statement. “Rape is a serious criminal offense, and hence should never be used casually under any circumstance.”
“This rape threat against individuals bravely speaking truth to power manifests the kind of dangerous bigotry and macho-fascism that is flowing from the source—no less than President Duterte—down to his supporters, ” Gabriela said.
Gabriela said the rape threat against Pangilinan mirrored a tactic used against other women calling out human rights abuses and social injustice in the Duterte administration, including Rep. Arlene Brosas, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago and actress Angel Locsin.
“This intolerance to criticism and rotten fanaticism for Duterte must stop. Independent voices must be allowed to thrive without any fear of being in harm’s way. Stop using rape threats to silence critical voices, ” the group said. – Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network