Coming from a powerful family should not make one exempt from the law especially when they have done something wrong against others. They may use their power, influence, and connections to get away from what they have done, but when their victim, despite the traumatic events that happened to them, is unwavering and refusing to back down no matter what, all efforts by assailants will be all for naught.
Rape victims by such prominent people are silenced because the latter get to bribe their way out of the ordeal—that is, if they even get out of it alive in the first place. Such victims end up ashamed for something they did not ask for nor was it their fault, but the trajectory of their life will be changed forever. Some might never speak of such an incident ever again, afraid of the consequences especially when they’re up against powerful people, while some put on a fight for their virtue and do not back down from their assailants.
Maggie Dela Riva
Magdalena Torrente Dela Riva, also known as Maggie Dela Riva, is a famous actress during the golden age of Filipino cinema. Before appearing on the silver screen, she was one of the top five finalists for the beauty pageant, “Miss Caltex of 1963.” She donned and represented Filipino gowns for the “Fashion Guild of the Philippines.” She was also a famous brand endorser for “Respect the Centavo.”
She starred in over 40 films; her first being alongside Joseph Estrada in the movie entitled, “Istambay.” Her best work was considered to be “Ang Langit ay Para Sa Lahat.” However, she would also be best remembered for an unfortunate incident she endured at the hands of young, privileged men.
In one of the most sensational cases of the 1960s in the Philippines, Maggie was an up-and-coming star of ABS CBN in 1967. She was abducted by four young men and taken to the Swanky Hotel in Pasay City. There, she would be tortured and raped by these men who came from prominent families. Yielding a deadly weapon, the men forced and intimidated Maggie, ensuring that she wouldn't be able to resist their advances.
Maggie’s Abduction in 1967
On June 26, 1967, Maggie, driving a bantam car with her maid, Helen Calderon, was on her way to her New Manila home from ABS CBN when she was stopped by a Pontiac 2-door convertible car.
The helpless Maggie was forced out of her car and was taken to the Swanky Hotel where the torment would ensue. She was blindfolded when they arrived at the hotel and she was made to perform humiliating and degrading acts before being tortured, assaulted, and raped by her four assailants—Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda Jr, Edgardo Aquino, and Rogelio Cañal.
Once the men were through with their evil deed, they dumped Maggie in front of the Free Press building where a taxi took her home. When she arrived home, the hysterical Maggie told her mother about what she went through with those men. They filed a complaint at the Quezon City Police in order to find the men that defiled their precious daughter.
Knowing who she was up against did not deter Maggie from pursuing justice. Even when she knew that going through with the case would destroy her career, image, privacy, as well as facing humiliation, judgement, and public scrutiny, she did not back down from a fight.
Jaime said that he tagged along with the three other men as they wanted to borrow his Pontiac. On Sunday night, they went to the Ulog Cocktail Lounge where they had several rounds of drinks until the wee hours of the morning. While drinking, Basilio talked about Maggie, saying that he was in love with her, and how he knew about how she had a taping session in ABS CBN.
From Ulog, the group went to ABS CBN where Basilio and Rogelio tried to talk to Maggie. Since she did not know them, she did not talk to them and drove off in her car with her maid. Basilio did not want to take “no” for an answer, that’s why they chased Maggie’s car. Upon arriving at her home, Maggie was about to step out of the car when Basilio got out of their car and grabbed her, and forced her into theirs. Maggie was seated between Jaime and Rogelio. They would touch her with lewd intentions as they made their way to the hotel.
She pleaded for her life, saying how her mother depended on her as she was the family’s breadwinner after her father’s passing. Edgardo just scoffed in reply, stating that this would be better for them.
"At least now, no man would be able to rightfully take revenge for what we are about to do,” Edgardo mockingly said.
Before reaching the hotel, Basilio stopped the car to blindfold Maggie with a handkerchief. When she shouted, struggled, and tried to fight, he struck her again and again in her stomach and thighs. When Maggie regained consciousness, she was at the hotel. Jaime said that the Swanky Hotel along Taft Avenue was owned by Basilio’s family.
“Magburlesque ka para sa amin,” she was told by one of the men.
The men grew impatient; thus, they forcefully disrobed her themselves. Maggie, with all her clothes on the floor, tried to cover herself as much as she could.
The men left the room for a while, but then, Jaime returned to rape her. Maggie crossed her legs tightly, resisting his advances, but eventually failed. Afterward, Edgardo had his turn, then Basilio, then Rogelio. She blacked out after all that had happened, and when she did, water was poured onto her face and she was slapped in order to wake her up. Every time she resisted, they would curse at her and threaten to throw acid on her face as they hit her in different parts of her body.
After the sexual carnage, she was made to dress up and fix herself. She could barely keep her legs straight, failing to walk by herself. The men had to carry her down the stairs, in view of other witnesses. They threatened her to not speak about what happened or else she will be in trouble. It was Jaime who hailed a taxi and had her escorted back to her home. The taxi driver described Maggie as frantic, constantly looking behind them as if another vehicle was following them.
It was around 6:30 in the morning when she arrived at home. She had already been missing for more than 2 hours, which caused her family to ask for help from the authorities.
“Mommy, mommy, I have been raped. All four of them raped me,” Maggie cried to her mother.
She immediately took a bath and a douche to cleanse herself, hoping that what had just happened can be scrubbed away. She filed a case of “Forcible Abduction with Rape” against the four men.
Before facing Jaime at the NBI headquarters, she was brought in for a medical examination. Her examining physician, Dr. Ernesto Brion, the assistant NBI medico-legal division chief, confirmed that Maggie was assaulted by the four men.
“They took turns in abusing me.” Maggie said to her physician during her medical exam.
As any victim of a traumatic event, Maggie was in a state of shock since she was assaulted. Initially, she refused to file a complaint, saying how the men did not harm her at all and that she was threatened by them if she exposed what happened. However, she changed her mind and decided to pursue her fight against her assailants, together with her two lawyers, Bienvenido Benitez and his wife, Regina.
According to Maggie, the four men threatened to kill and mutilate her if she went to the police.
“Like Lucila Lalu,” Maggie quoted the men who threatened to kill her.
Jaime was the first to be arrested by the authorities near his home in Makati. He told the police about how he, and three other men, took Maggie to the Swanky Hotel where she was sexually abused for nearly an hour.
He was walking along Buendia Avenue, reading the Daily Mirror’s headline about Maggie’s ordeal at the hands of young men who drove a red Pontiac convertible. The detectives, Pablo Pascual and Ricardo Aniceto, disguised themselves as ice cream vendors and were assigned near Jaime’s home under surveillance.
Jaime, upon encountering the disguised detectives, would deny who he really was. However, he failed to trick them, that’s why he tried to escape. Just around the corner was another detective, Reynaldo Roldan, who was able to block him. Who wouldn’t stop when faced with someone donning a Thompson submachine gun?
Fearing what could happen, he pleaded for his life and said, “Please don’t harm me! I’m the one, I’m the one! I’ll go with you, I’ll go with you.”
The police jeeps picked him up and took him to Quezon City Precinct 5 in order to avoid the growing number of people that were gathered at the NBI headquarters where Maggie told her story.
Jaime confessed to Captain Ernesto San Diego, chief of detectives, and Captain Leonardo San Jose, assistant chief, the names of the other men he was with that also took part in assaulting Maggie: Basilio, Edgardo, and Rogelio; thus, launching an intensive manhunt to track them down.
Maggie came face-to-face with her assailants at the office of Quezon City Police chief Tomas B. Karingal where, despite her trembling and crying in rage, she uttered the words.
Jamie Jose: “Maggie, Maggie, please… I was not one of them. Tell them the truth.”
Upon hearing these words from his victim, Jaime, the 21-year-old son of a prominent physician, could not bear to face her; that's why he bowed his head, turned to the wall, and wept.
Maggie gained a lot of sympathy from the public when they knew about the case; while only so little for the four men.
During the trial, all four suspects had their own version as to what exactly happened when they were with Maggie. Basilio claimed that he wanted to teach Maggie a lesson after she allegedly hit their car. He offered her P1,000 strip for them; which he also claimed that Huggins did when she willingly went to the hotel.
The court did not accept the “striptease-act-for-a-fee” story; thus, granting them a guilty verdict for kidnapping with rape.
It was also revealed that Jaime was a member of a gang that molested starlets and hostesses. Some of the victims were afraid to speak up, in fear of a potential scandal, and being tormented by the rest of the gang.
After four years, the Supreme Court ruled with finality that the four men did rape Maggie; thus sentencing them to death by electrocution. These men appealed the court’s decision, but lost.
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