In the 13th episode of the legal advice TV program ‘Cayetano in Action with Boy Abunda’ (CIA with BA), Senators Alan Peter “Compañero” S. Cayetano and Senator Pia Cayetano stressed that sexual abuse cases especially involving minors must never end in settlement.
In the show’s ‘Payong Kapatid’ segment, the Cayetanos faced the case of a complainant who sought counsel on how to help ‘Grace,’ a 14-year-old girl who has been sexually abused by people who have employed her to do house work.
“Makikita mo na doon sa maseselan na kasong katulad nito na sa batas, bawal ang aregluhan. Kahit dalhin mo sila sa barangay, at kahit willing mag-appear lahat ng parties, hindi mo pupuwedeng aregluhin ang child abuse, lalo kung sexually abused yung bata,” Senator Alan explained.
Senator Pia, a known women’s advocate, said the first thing that matters in sexual abuse cases is the safety of the victim.
“Ang pinaka-importante dito ay ang kanyang mental and emotional state. Hindi magaan ito na experience, ‘di ba. We want her to have the best intervention kasi it’s very possible na years after, dala dala niya pa ito,” she said.
“For many years, nagkakaroon talaga ako ng activities to promote against violence against women and children kasi nga nagkakaroon ng ganyan ay sadly within the home. Ito nga macoconsider mong second home dahil pumapasok siya diyan,” she added.
With such cases becoming more prevalent, Senator Pia urged vigilance among the public and to be sensitive to the signs of people being sexually abused.
“Request ko lang kung ikaw ay kapitbahay, kaibigan, o kakilala, minsan tama ang kutob eh. Kung may kutob ka, baka meron talagang nangyayaring [sexual abuse],” she added.
The senator-siblings also went on to explain that in the new statutory rape law, those 16 years old and below cannot consent to sexual activities.
“Huwag tayong magduda na baka pumayag ang bata. It’s irrelevant kung anuman ang inasta ng bata,” Senator Pia said.
Echoing his sister, Senator Alan said, “It’s still child abuse. Walang lusot.”
The segment ended with the Cayetanos telling the complainant that it’s going to be a long journey for ‘Grace’ and it would definitely lead to cases being filed. Senator Pia also talked privately to ‘Grace’ and her mother as she helped provide comfort and support on what to do next with the case.
According to Senator Alan, CIA with BA is an “evolution” of “Compañero y Compañera,” a radio and television program hosted by their late father Senator Rene Cayetano which aired from 1997 to 2001.
“[CIA with BA] is a creative way of looking at legal issues [where we] give advice without confining it in legal [concepts] o pagiging bookish. Kasi katulad nga ng sinabi sa Bible, the law was made for man, not man made for the law,” he said in a Facebook livestream on March 27, 2023.
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