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SC harassing UP law faculty
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:02:00 10/30/2010
Filed Under: Crime and Law and Justice, Women
I WAS a young woman when Lola Rosa Henson came out in 1992 as a victim of the sexual slavery perpetrated by Japanese military soldiers during World War II. A few months later, lawyers from Japan came to gather information from other elderly women who were coming out to file a case against the Japanese government. I helped translate the stories of the grandmothers as the Japanese lawyers interviewed them.
They narrated that many of them were from 12 to 16 years of age when they were forcibly taken from their communities to the soldiers’ barracks. On the very same day that they were abducted, 10-15 soldiers lined up to use each of them sexually. And they suffered the same ordeal in the countless days hence.
When they came out in the media during the early 1990s, they told us how some of their families rejected them, indicating the public stigma victims of sexual violence suffered.
It has been almost two decades since they came out and the “lolas” have yet to see justice. On November 23, it will be 66 years since the Japanese soldiers ransacked their homes in Mapanique and brought them to a “red house” to be used as “comfort women.”
More recently, the Supreme Court denied the Filipino women’s demands for the Philippine government to espouse their claims for reparation from the Japanese government. Worse, in so doing, the Supreme Court misused the works of international legal scholars and went further to threaten the UP Faculty of Law with sanctions for exposing the misuse. It outrages us feminists that the highest court of our land is harassing the UP law professors, who were only voicing the truth in behalf of the women victims of sexual slavery. The Supreme Court is showing its patriarchal face by denying justice to the victims of sexual slavery, justifying plagiarism for the “lack of malicious intent” on the part of the ponente and, as dissenting Justice Conchita Carpio Morales said, by “flexing (its) judicial muscle” against the law professors.
I enjoin the academic community to protest this grievous misconduct, which would set a dangerous precedent for intellectual dishonesty. I call on other women’s groups to rally behind truth, reason and justice as argued by the UP Faculty of Law. Finally, I call on our executive and legislative branches of government to take up where our Supreme Court failed, securing justice for the women victims of sexual slavery. President Aquino is due to leave for Japan to attend the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. We will expect him to take the plea of the comfort women definitively with his Japanese counterparts.—JEAN ENRIQUEZ, Executive Director, Coalition against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), and National Coordinator, World March of Women, 116 Maginhawa St., Teachers’ Village, Quezon City