The Gang Rape and Slaying of Rosilin Federico: A Case that Emphasized Marikina City as "The Rape and Murder Capital of the Philippines" in the early 1990sRead Now
In the early 1990s, Marikina City earned a reputation of being the country's rape and murder capital after a plethora of cases that popped out, which featured women being sexually assaulted and some that are brutally killed.
It was a time when the Marikina local government had set its sights on becoming a city, which they eventually achieved in 1996.
However, despite the city's efforts to develop the area, crimes against women also increased.
After all, who would want to go to a place that was featured almost every night in major news outlets because of rape and murder?
On July 7, 1993, Marikina's notoriety as the rape and murder capital of the Philippines would get emphasized after a body of a young woman was found in a covered canal located in Barangay Parang, Marikina City.
According to authorities, the victim was raped and tortured before being mercilessly killed by her perpetrators. Upon seeing her lifeless body, she was naked from the waist down, her lips crushed, her private parts swollen, and a yellow-green towel bound her neck.
The victim is Rosilin Federico. She was a 22-year-old nursing student and a service crew member of Cindy's restaurant located in SM Centerpoint, Sta. Mesa, Manila.
Rosilin was a resident of Marikina City together with her family. She was a hardworking individual who studied and worked simultaneously to help provide for her family.
The victim's family was devastated by the saddening incident. In an interview with a true crime show from a recognized television outlet, Shirley Federico, Rosilin's mother, told reporters that she was aware of Marikina's reputation for violent crimes against women. That is why whenever Rosilin would go home late at night, she would pick her daughter up from the jeepney station to keep her safe.
Unfortunately, on July 5, 1993, Rosilin’s mother had a terrible fever, which prevented her from doing the usual routine of picking up Rosilin from her jeepney stop.
When it was past Rosilin's time when she usually went home, her parents initially thought she stayed at her older sister's house located in Barangay Tañong in Marikina City that night because it was already late.
Little did they know that the morning of that day would be the last time they would see their beloved daughter.
After confirming that Rosilin did not spend the night at her older sister's house, the Federico family became worried about the whereabouts of Rosilin.
They thoroughly went through all of Rosilin's family and friends to see if they could help find her, but none of them knew where exactly was their daughter.
After exerting all their efforts, Rosilin's parents decided to file a missing person's report on July 6 at Barangay Parang's hall.
A day later, the Federico family's fears came to reality. Authorities found a young woman's lifeless body in a vacant lot in Barangay Parang. According to the police, the victim's body was covered in bruises and showed clear signs of forced penetration to her private parts.
Rosilin's father confirmed that the lifeless body that the authorities found was indeed her daughter. The tragic incident broke the hearts of Rosilin's family.
Faustino even questioned God's existence. He wondered why the perpetrators of her daughter's gruesome slaying would do such horrific acts. He also maintained that he and his family did not have enemies and that they were good people without doing anything bad in a world that brought cruelty to their precious daughter.
When it seemed that the culture of rape and violence reign over the city of Marikina, Rosilin's unmerciful killing became a spark-plug for justice seekers that aims to put an end to Marikina's reputation of being the rape and murder capital of the entire country.
Rosilin Federico's case and the various other victims in Marikina caught the national government's attention. Then-Vice President Joseph Estrada, who was also the chairman of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) in the Ramos administration, urged the law enforcement to hasten their investigation on Rosilin's slaying.
As the police heed the national government's call to exert more effort in Rosilin Federico's death, they went back to the place where she was found and looked for more answers.
A young man named Angelito came forward, claiming to have the answers to what happened to Rosilin. Based on Angelito's claim, he said to authorities that he knew the perpetrators of the crime.
In the vicinity of the crime, Angelito told policemen that he saw the suspects within their compound, though his parents already told the authorities beforehand that they did not see anyone in their area on the days Rosilin was still assumed to be missing until her body was found nearby.
However, Angelito insisted that there was really a group of men lurking around their compound before Rosilin was found. But he wouldn't give out the names of the men that he claimed were there.
The police then forced Angelito to spill out their names, which he finally did. Based on Angelito's statement, he saw three men, brothers Ramon and Zaldy De la Paz and Joel Borlon, pass by their compound.
Twenty days after Rosilin Federico's lifeless body was found, the police finally found a break after looking into Angelito's testimony. The authorities apprehended the three men, in which all of them admitted that they took part in the rape and slaying of Rosilin Federico.
The suspect, Ramon de La Paz, who was also a neighbor of the Federico family, was the first to admit of his involvement in the gruesome crime. His brother Adorable and their friend, Joel Borlon, also cooperated with the authorities.
All three also identified the other four suspects while they made Rosilin suffer, Zaldy de La Paz (the other brother of Adorable and Ramon), Edwin Habla, Melvin Magbanua, and Allan Florentino, who was the said mastermind of the gruesome crime they committed.
Eventually, the authorities found the mastermind in the province of Sorsogon, where he was hiding.
According to the suspects' statement that admitted to the crime, on the evening of July 5, 1992, Ramon De la Paz and Melvin Magbanua saw Rosilin go down the jeepney.
Both men were highly intoxicated with illegal drugs and followed Rosilin where she was headed.
When Rosilin was about 10 meters away from her home, both men grabbed her. Amid the victim's abduction, Ramon punched her to keep her from resisting.
Afterward, both men dragged her to another street where a car was waiting for them. They shoved Rosilin at the back of the car, where two other suspects, Alan Florentino and Zaldy De la Paz, were waiting for them.
They went to an apartment in Tanguile Street, also located in Barangay Parang in Marikina City. As soon as they arrived at the apartment, the suspects tied Rosilyn's hands and feet while she was lying down on a bed.
They ripped apart her clothes and gagged her mouth to prevent anyone outside from hearing her cries for help. As Rosilin was lying down helpless at her captors' mercy, the perpetrators also used illegal substances among themselves to get high before performing their brutal acts towards the victim.
After drugging themselves, the vicious men took turns in sexually assaulting Rosilin.
From July 5 to July 7, these heartless men forced themselves on the victim over and over again till she died.
Meanwhile, the said mastermind, Allan Florentino, denied his involvement in the rape and killing of Rosilin Federico.
According to an interview he granted to a known news outlet years after the case has been solved before the Rosilin rape-slay case has ever happened, he said that he had a physical altercation with the Federico family, a fight regarding a basketball game.
Allan also told the reporter that he had a half-brother who was beaten and stabbed in the neighborhood where the Federico family resides.
When asked about his whereabouts during the time the crime took place, He maintained that he was at a family member's birthday party when Rosilin was supposedly abducted.
Because of his significant bad blood with the Federico family, Allan insisted that this might have led the authorities to believe that he was the mastermind of the brutal slaying and rape of Rosilin.
However, the authorities did not believe Allan Florentino's sentiments. Based on the investigation, they found out that Allan comes from a wealthy family. There were also rumors back then that Allan was the drug supplier in Barangay Parang, which is highly possible that he had influence over the goons and drug addicts that roamed around the area.
Other claims continue to resurface. According to one of the suspects, Zaldy de La Paz, he claimed that he was tortured by the police to admit his involvement with Rosilin's the rape-slay.
As the case moves further, authorities filed "Rape with Homicide" charges against the five suspects in police custody. Two other suspects, Melvin Magbanua and Edwin Habla, remained at large.
Unfortunately, on July 25, 1996, the case suffered a setback after Judge Santiago Tolentino Ranada Jr., of the Marikina City Regional Trial Court, dismissed the case against the five suspects based on insufficient evidence. In his decision to dismiss the case, the Judge said the five suspects' testimonies owning the crime were given in the absence of counsel.
The ruling devastated the Federico family, but they vowed to continuously seek justice for the murder of their daughter, Rosilin.
Through the help and support of numerous advocacy groups, the Federico family started a campaign and garnered one million signatures protesting the Marikina City judge's ruling.
They also filed a motion at the Court of Appeals to re-open the case.
On March 4, 1998, the Court of Appeals ordered the case's reinvestigation and transferred the venue to the Pasig City Regional Trial Court.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals' decision and ordered the Pasig RTC to start hearing the case.
Amid the investigation, a new witness, Enrique Magnaye, came forward and testified that he saw the suspects on board a car unloading Rosilin's body and dumping it a few meters away from where he was standing.
He also told the court that he refused to surface immediately because he was afraid of the mastermind, Allan Florentino, who belongs to a rich and influential family. Though his conscience got the best of him, he decided to move forward with his testimony.
Magnaye's testimony pinned the final nail in the coffin that led the Pasig RTC rule on behalf of the prosecution.
In Judge Leill Acebo's ruling in 2002, she found the five accused "guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of multiple rape with homicide."
According to Judge Acebo's statement, she said she could have sent the accused Ramon de la Paz, Adorable de la Paz, Zaldy de la Paz, Joel Borion, and Allan Florentino to the death chamber since rape with homicide was considered a heinous crime.
Luckily for them, the death penalty in the Philippines was re-established in 1994, a year after the crime was committed.
The Judge also ordered each accused to pay Rosiliyn Federico's heirs the sum of P1.5 million in damages.
Rosilin Federico's suffering finally received the justice it deserves. She was abducted, raped, and killed by seven men that took turns in forcing themselves onto her helpless stature. No person deserves to be treated that way.
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