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Maguindanao rape victim marks 22nd birthday in hospital

November 18, 2010 1:01am

The volunteer nurse who was gang-raped in Maguindanao received a cake and gift from her family and well-wishers as she celebrated her 22nd birthday Wednesday in a Davao hospital where she is recuperating.

In a report by GMA News' "24 Oras," nurses and doctors of the Southern Philippines Medical Center said they will miss Florence, not her real name, when she is finally discharged from the hospital this week.

"Mami-miss namin siya [We will miss her]. We wish her a very happy birthday," said Jocelyn Calauod, the head nurse of the hospital where Florence has been staying for 40 days now.

Sen. Francis Escudero, one of Florence's birthday visitors, spent about 30 minutes inside her hospital room to talk to her.

Escudero, who is also the chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, vowed the Senate will look into other measures it can adopt to prevent future repeats of the brutality that Florence went through.

"Light, walang seryosong pinag-usapan. Pagbati lamang sa kanyang kaarawan at pagbibigay ng assurance na ang gobyerno ay hindi titigil, lalo na sa ilalim ng aming komite," Escudero said in the same report.

(It was light talk, nothing serious. I just greeted her on her birthday and gave assurance that the government, especially our Senate committee, won’t stop until she gets justice.)

Doctors said Florence is nearing full recovery, but would still need to undergo therapy session for the trauma caused by her ordeal.

Florence may possibly be discharged within the week, but her doctors want to ensure security for her and her family.

"We have to agree with the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Justice… [as she] will be under their custody after the possible discharge," said chief of hospital III Dr. Leopoldo Vega.

Florence's father, a tailor, told GMA News that life goes on for the family, even as he became emotional during the interview.

He said memories of the crime are starting to come back to Florence, but they are not forcing her to recall what happened on the night she was brutalized.

"Hinihintay lang namin na may isiwalat siya," Florence's father said. (We're just waiting for her to tell us about it.)

He added he is earnestly wishing for Florence's speedy emotional recovery, as it breaks his heart when he hears his daughter wishing for her life to just end because of what happened to her.

Earlier, the President's sister Kris Aquino also visited Florence last Sunday, and promised the victim that she will personally remind her brother to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to the bars of justice. (See: Kris visits rape victim ‘Florence,’ vows help in seeking justice)

Charges of rape and frustrated murder were filed last month against a former militiaman and a still unidentified suspect before the Cotabato Regional Trial Court. (See: Raps filed vs ex-CAFGU, ‘Edwin Doe’ in Florence rape case)—With Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV
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