A woman claiming she was sexually attacked in a quarantine facility in Coron on September 13 is demanding a public apology from municipal health authorities for allegedly exposing her to the traumatic experience because of lack of security.
Irine Bentulan, who made a Facebook post of her predicament, said in an interview that the town Emergency Operations Center (EOC) did not assist her properly when the incident happened.
The suspect, Ricky Canillo, is reportedly in the custody of the Coron Municipal Police Station (MPS) after being arrested on September 17 by virtue of a warrant.
“The way they treated me is unacceptable and I am not accepting it. It is unbelievable the way some arrogant, incompetent politicians treat us if they think we won’t have the courage to go public, or don’t have the money to take them to court,” Bentulan said in an interview through messenger chat.
“I’ll not stop until we get a public, written apology, and a clear protocol on how to care for women in similar situations,” she added.
Bentulan said that the incident happened on September 3, when she was quarantined in a facility in Diguiboy, Barangay Guadalupe. Canillo reportedly entered her room while she was sleeping at around 12:30 p.m. and assaulted her. When she cried for help, other quarantined patients woke up and the suspect fled the scene.
Bentulan added that after the incident, the municipal police called several hours later then began with their investigation. However, she decried the treatment she received from the EOC, who reportedly did not meet with her in person to ask how she was doing or allow her to meet with her family.
They only moved her to a different room after she reported the incident, she said. Eventually, she left the facility after testing negative on an unspecified date.
EOC Coron gives their side
Palawan News sought a statement from EOC and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) chief Engr. Fernando Lopez on Wednesday, September 22. According to him, he could not understand why Bentulan made such statements because they provided all the necessary assistance after the incident.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi namin siya pinabayaan. Actually, ang doktor namin ang lumapit sa kanya para kausapin siya, kung ano ang kahilingan niya, ginawa namin. Habang nasa quarantine facility siya ay may nagmomonitor sa kanya daily na mga nurse,” he said.
Lopez added that the EOC also assisted her in filing a case against Canillo. He apologized to Bentulan for not checking up on her, as he had other duties to attend to.
“Nanghingi rin ako ng apology sa kanya, na, pasensya na kasi dahil sa mga gawain ko sa EOC at sa MDRRMO. Fino-follow ko naman lagi sa PNP kung ano ang update sa kaso,” he added.
Bentulan, when asked for comment, maintained her stance that the EOC treated her poorly.
“They never asked me what help I needed. I am the one going to the police and doing all the papers and bringing them [suspect] to the attorney, they did nothing,” she said.
The victim allowed Palawan News to use her photo.