The provincial government has assisted two Slovakian female nationals in filing rape cases against a boatman from El Nido, who allegedly sexually attacked them while they were in Cadlao Island last week.
Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez presented the suspect, Romulo Arnosa, 30, to media during a press conference held Tuesday at the provincial capitol.
“Nakakahiya, and if this thing will continue, you know what will happen. Syempre, pagdating niyan kung saan man ‘yan uuwi, magdadagdag ‘yan na sasabihing ‘wag na kayong pumunta diyan [El Nido], so ‘yon sana ang iniiwasan natin,” Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez said.
Gov. Alvarez expressed concern about the case, noting that a similar incident happened in January involving an 18-year old US national where the suspect is a fisherman.
Alvarez said he will meet with local officials of El Nido and other major tourist destinations to ensure that there are measures applied to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
“Gagawa ako ng programa sa mga tourist destinations na ‘yan, kung maari ay gawin ko ‘yan bago pa matapos itong season na ito and then hopefully kapag mayroong cooperation mayroon naman tayong malaking fund dito pwedeng nating gamitin ‘yan,” he said.
Atty. Mary Joy Cascara of the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office said the cases filed against Arnosa will proceed to trial even after the complainants have gone back to their country of origin because they have already provided their testimonies and had been cross-examined by the lawyer of the suspect from the Public Attorney’s Office.
“The case will still continue because this is against the suspect by the Republic of the Philippines. Kahit wala ‘yong mga complainants natin tuloy-tuloy pa rin and yesterday kasi they were presented sa court and cross-examined na rin sila ng laywer ng accused,” Cascara said.
El Nido police station chief, PCI Lodell Lota, said that based on the complaint of the victims, Arnosa sexually attacked them separately while they were sleeping inside their tents when they were left alone by the two other male companions who had left for town to buy some supplies.
Arnosa denied the charge when he was asked by reporters. He declined to give further details to his statement.
Meanwhile, Police Senior Superintendent Gabriel Lopez reminded other personnel of tourist establishments catering to visitors to avoid getting into similar troubles.
“Reminder sa ating mga boatman, crew and personnel na mag-ingat sa kanilang mga ginagawa lalo na sa ganitong pangyayari na napapasubo sila then bandang huli mapupunta sila sa ganitong problema na mayroong mag-complain. Syempre tayo, kung ano ang complain kailangan nating umaksyon,” he said.