Senate to heed UN landmark ruling on Vertido rape case

SEN. Pia Cayetano yesterday welcomed the landmark ruling of a United Nations (UN) committee that held the Philippine government accountable for the controversial dismissal by a local court of the Karen Vertido rape case five years ago.

Cayetano said the Senate committee on youth, women and family relations, “will seriously take into consideration” the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).”

In a resolution, the UN committee criticized the “gender-based myths and stereotypes” used by a Davao City court when it dismissed in 2005
the high-profile rape case filed by Vertido against a prominent local businessman.

“The recommendations of the UN body will assist our committee in reviewing and drafting measures to remove provisions in our laws that are gender-biased,” said Cayetano.

She added: “Although the 1997 Anti-Rape Law already provides a broad definition of the crime of rape, there is still room for improvement to further protect women against discrimination.”

“One possible amendment includes making ‘lack of consent’ of the victim an essential element of the crime of rape, as opposed to the current wording of the law which focuses more on the mode employed by the perpetrator in the commission of the crime of rape such as through force, intimidation or threat,” the lawmaker added. D’Jay Lazaro

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