“Igwang Hikaw” gets life in prison for raping PWD
posted 1-Jul-2019  ·  
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A seven-year trial for rape at the Regional Trial Court came to an end last week when a man known as “Igwang Hikaw” was meted life imprisonment for sexually abusing a woman suffering from twin disabilities in 2012.

RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras also ordered Jose Pagal Magtangob to pay the victim a total sum of P225,000 as civil indemnity, moral and exemplary damages.

Magtangob, a pedicab driver and baggage boy, was the second to be convicted for the string of rapes perpetrated on the victim, who had reported the incidents to the Virac police on June 10 and 13, 2012.

She told the investigator that at 9:50 P.M. of June 3 that year, one Jodel “One Eye” Romero, 29, a construction worker, brought her to a grassy area and then raped her. Two days later on June 5, Magtangob lured her into an empty store and also waylaid her while on June 7, Ryan “Batoy” Ballador, 19, brought her to a nipa hut at the Palnab Elementary School and then raped her.

Romero was arrested by the police at the San Andres port on June 29, 2016 while trying to escape prosecution for the non-bailable crime and was later convicted of the crime. The Tribune could not immediately confirm whether a similar case was filed against Ballador.

In the case of Magtangob, the victim, AAA, was on her way home from watching basketball at the Palnab del Norte barangay plaza when she was called by the suspect who said they would talk inside the store. When she refused, he held her hand and pushed her inside, locking the door and then laying her down on a bamboo bed where the violation occurred despite her struggles.

During the trial, it was learned that the three suspects had a drinking session with the victim’s father inside the latter’s house after the alleged rapes but he did not know about it yet. It was only when he learned of the incidents that he became very angry and the trio no longer went to his house.

In his defense, Magtangob alleged that it was AAA who showed an interest in him as he was good in basketball. He said he was sleeping inside the store when he awoke with AAA already on top of him.

A witness, Arjay Buen, also claimed that he saw AAA asked him of Magtangob’s whereabouts and then entered the store, coming out only after three hours.

Upon learning of the adverse decision on Romero’s case, the accused offered to enter into plea bargaining but was rejected twice by the complainant and her mother.

The Court, however, gave credence to the victim’s testimony which it said was given in a straightforward manner, despite her speech impairment, accompanied by gestures.

On the other hand, it said that Buen’s testimony destroyed Magtangob’s defense, particularly since the latter never mentioned Buen’s presence just two meters away from the store as the witness claimed.

The witness also stated that AAA spoke in a normal voice to him, when he should have known she has a speech impediment if he was indeed at the vicinity.

It is very surprising why Jose did not present any of his three friends who were in the vicinity, as affirmed by the victim, Judge Contreras noted.

Instead, Magtangob presented Buen, who later admitted during cross-examination that prior to residing in Palta Big, Virac, he was in San Jose, San Andres and thus, the Court stressed, could not have known the complainant before the date of the alleged rape.

“There is no iota of doubt that Jose succeeded in having carnal knowledge of AAA against her will through force and intimidation,” Judge Contreras concluded in her 15-page decision rendered last June 14, 2019.

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