Thursday, March 13, 2014

Arrested ex-Ecija vice mayor in rape case ordered detained in San Jose City jail

SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija – A former vice mayor in Nueva Ecija who was arrested last week inside a gambling casino in Manila has been detained in this city.

Former Pantabangan vice mayor Romeo Borja Jr., 37, of Block 2, East Poblacion, Pantabangan has been transferred to the city jail here by virtue of a commitment order signed by San Jose City Regional Trial Court Branch 38 Judge Loreto Alog Jr.

 Borja Jr. Was arrested on March 5 by a joint team from the Manila Police District, the National Capital Region intelligence unit and the Pantabangan police at the Pavillion Casino along UN Avenue, Manila.

 The arresting team, led by Pantabangan station commander Senior Inspector Casilla and Senior Inspector Christian Burgos, were armed with warrants issued by Alog for 22 counts of rape after the Department of Justice found probable cause and recommended the filing of charges.

Earlier, his father and namesake Romeo Sr., who is also facing rape charges filed by a beauty contestant, was also arrested while attending a mass in Pangasinan.

Romeo Sr. and Romeo Jr. lost in their reelection bids to incumbent Mayor Romeo Uera and Vice Mayor Ruben Huerta in the May 2013 polls.

Last March 6, Casilla turned over the former vice mayor to the provincial public safety company detention cell. He was returned to thew custody of the Pantabangan police last March 10.

          The complainant in the rape cases, identified only as a certain Mina,  accused Borja Jr. of repeatedly raping her from October 2009 to April 2010.

          Another complainant claimed the mayor and vice mayor raped her from May 2011 to November 2012. Her mother filed separate complaints against the Borjas for violating Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 and RA 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law in relation to RA 7610, the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

          The victim’s mother also filed complaints against two of her nieces who allegedly acted as the Borjas’ accomplices.

          Romeo Sr. said the charges against them have long been dismissed by the DOJ and the supposed dates where the complainant was raped were erroneous.  “The complaint of Mina was dismissed by the DOJ because it was full of errors and inconsistencies,” he said.

          In the latest complaint filed by a 17-year-old victim who represented the town in the Miss Teen Tourism pageant of Nueva Ecija in 2011, she claimed the two Borjas raped her on several occasions in 2011 to 2012.

          The victim claimed Romeo Sr. first raped here on April 15,2011 inside a room at the Century Hotel in Angeles City where a woman brought her supposedly for a pre-pageant dress rehearsal.

          She said Romeo Sr. threatened her with harm if she reported the incident but promised to provide for her if she would keep silent. The incident was repeated on April 27, 2011 in another room of the same hotel.

          This was repeated at the mayor’s office, in a hotel in San Jose City on May 14,2011, in February 2012 and on November 13,2012 inside the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City where Romeo Sr. was playing casino.

          Romeo Jr., the complainant said, first raped her inside a motel in Cabanatuan City on May 17, 2011 and in a restaurant bar on July 27, 2011.         

          Romeo Sr. laughed off the allegations, saying these were mere fabrications intended to harass him and his son. (Manny Galvez)

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