Romero pleads not guilty in abduction, rape case
Bato, Catanduanes  ·  
posted 18-Aug-2019  ·  
1,766 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

The suspect in the abduction and rape of a 16-year old girl from Bato town has pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at the Regional Trial Court last week.

An official source told the Tribune that Mark Anthony Romero insisted that he was not the one responsible for the crime and that he was only identified as such because of the similar cases filed against him in the past.

The young victim was present during the arraignment before the sala of RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras, with many hoping that she would not agree to plea bargain agreements like two of Romero’s victims had done.

The still traumatized girl is reportedly the 6th to fall victim to Romero, who has been charged with 12 counts of rape, one count of kidnapping with rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, two counts of grave coercion and one count of grave threats in a criminal record stretching back to 2007 when he was just 22 years old.

According to the account of this latest incident, the Grade 9 student waited outside the gate of Cabugao Integrated School at 7 P.M. of July 24 after working with her classmates on a school project.

She boarded a tricycle bound for Virac, intending to alight near her family’s house in Marinawa. The tricycle driver, however, ignored her call to stop at Marinawa and sped past it, with the man beside her clamping a handkerchief soaked in chemical to her face, making her lose consciousness.

When she regained her senses at about 3 A.M. the following day, she was in a hut with her clothes scattered on the floor, naked and aching with pain in her private parts.

After putting on her clothes, she came out of the hut and after a short climb was on the national highway near Sto. Domingo bridge. She began walking until she reached the Bato-San Miguel tricycle terminal at the Virac Sports Center where she took a tricycle to Marinawa.

That same day at 11 A.M., she and her parents went to the Bato police station to report her gruesome experience.

Romero was later arrested and was found to be carrying a sachet of shabu when searched at the Virac police station prior to his detention.

He pointed to a certain individual as the one who drove the tricycle but the police is not discounting the possibility that the suspect is deliberately giving false information to mislead investigators.

Just last March 2019, he managed to convince a victim of kidnapping, serious illegal detention and attempted rape to agree to a plea bargain in the twin cases filed before RTC Branch 42.

During the other Monday’s raffle of new criminal cases filed before the RTC in the past weeks, Romero’s kidnapping with rape case was among the 39 cases involving rape and other forms of sexual and child abuse. This accounted for nearly 40% of the total number of new cases and dwarfed the eight illegal drugs cases in the list.

Accused Pedro Santelices led the pack with 10 counts of rape and one count of violation of Republic Act 7610 (Women and Children Protection Act. The others are Antonio delos Reyes, with three counts of violation of RA 8353 (Anti-Rape Law of 1997); Ronald Tablizo, with one count each of rape and acts of lasciviousness; Joseph Maliñana and Reymark Tebelin, with separate counts of rape; and, Wilson Sapanta, one count of violation of RA 8353.

Those charged with violation of RA 7610 were Dickson Sorrera (4 counts), Kit Templonuevo (2), and, Daryl Tapia, Renehard Terry, Josh Rosner Nazareno, Robert Bañares, Arnel Barroso, and Ricky Calderon, one (1 each).

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