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Abduction-rape claims of woman “seeking attention” of family causes a stir in Sugarlandia capital

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – A young woman who claimed she was abducted and later raped repeatedly created a stir on social and legacy media Friday, triggering discussions on fake news and the need for psycho-social support for mentally-distressed persons.

It was a case that sent probers on a chase for leads through a national highway, the downtown area here to the neighboring city of Silay only to end on a retraction by the alleged victim who admitted late in the afternoon that the supposedly harrowing saga was a daughter’s desperate cry for attention.

The local press that had been running a series of stories since last week on the sugar importation fiasco and the squabble over Sugar Board appointments took a brief break yesterday, 19 August 2022, to report on the story with some radio stations doing a running coverage of it since the story broke early in the morning.

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The local news cycle appears to have been dominated with the harrowing story of the woman, 23, who claimed two men snatched her from a public jeepney along Carlos Hilado Highway in Bata, a populated community here, and blindfolded her before she was taken to a house on a tricycle.

She claimed the abduction happened around 5pm in a busy part of Bata.

Her abductors, she added, then took turns raping her inside that house after she was forced to drink water that could have been laced with drugs, which made her feel weak.

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The Facebook page of DYHB, the local affiliate of Radio Mindanao Network that first broke the news, was swarmed by netizens who sounded alarmed over the incident based on their comments.

Most tagged female friends or relatives in the comments section and urged them to take care.

“Indi kamo sagay lagaw (Don’t roam around),” one commenter said on the DYHB page, a comment repeated by many others in different ways.

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“We noticed some inconsistencies in her testimony later in the day but we interviewed the alleged victim herself, her aunt, and her father,” Deony Bigay, DYHB station manager told DNX (Separate story on the DYHB coverage later today).

By the time Station 3 police chief, Lt. Armilyn Vargas called a news conference mid afternoon of Friday, the discussion on social media, especially on DYHB’s Facebook page and those of and other news outfits, had shifted to calls for a speedy investigation and some netizens even started to lay the blame on the new government here.

Vargas said as she was speaking yesterday, probers from her station have already started to look into the woman’s claims and have started the hunt for three “burly looking men with tattoos,” who, the woman claimed, were both abductors and sex fiends.

It turned out by late afternoon, however, that there were no “burly looking men” to hunt for after Arlyn Torrendon, a police lieutenant who heads the desk for women and children, broke the news to reporters that there was no abduction after all.

Torrendon told DNX the woman retracted her statement and told her she only made it up to get the attention of her family.

“She had problems with her family,” Torrendon said but did not elaborate.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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