By Troy Torres
The female Customs officer, who accused Customs director Ike Peredo of assaulting her, told Kandit News, "I am traumatized."
Mr. Peredo Wednesday afternoon plead guilty to charges related to the assault, specifically for physically harassing the woman. According to the law, he faced up to 60 days in prison for his petty misdemeanor, but the judge suspended all 60 days, with credit for time served (he served no time in jail). He must also pay restitution of $250, and is on probationary status for a year.
"I'm glad that justice has been served and I hope this will help all women that have been victims of violence," his victim told Kandit News in reaction to the guilty plea.
Essentially, the head of one of the island's law enforcement agencies is a convicted criminal.
According to the plea agreement he signed and despite his victim's trauma, Peredo is allowed to keep his job, carry a firearm, and even consume alcohol so long as he stays away from his victim. She believes justice has not been fully served, since part of the plea drops the larger charge of assault as a misdemeanor. She also has questioned why the attorney general did not charge Peredo with the felony offense of assault of a law enforcement officer.
And then there's her initial reaction to the entirety of the events that have transpired since the assault on her on July 9, 2020: "I am traumatized."
"If the Governor fights for protection of women and their rights, I'm sure she will make a wise decision to let Peredo go and seek help that he needs," the victim said.
Kandit Wednesday night asked Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's spokeswoman, Krystal Paco-San Agustin whether the governor will fire Peredo or ask for his resignation.
"No," Ms. Paco-San Agustin replied. "Not at this time."
Ms. Leon Guerrero has made the empowerment of women among the hallmarks of her glass ceiling-shattering administration. She has tempered those sentiments with a commitment to due process, leaving to the court system the adjudication of the facts and justice. Such was the case, when the victim made the accusations last year. The governor said she would trust the legal system to work things out. That process now is done, and her appointee has plead guilty to a crime of violence against a woman.
After learning of the governor's refusal to hold her appointee accountable, the victim feels helpless to the system. She is left to believe the only explanation for Adelup's betrayal of her as a female victim of violence by a male director is that she is being discriminated against.
"I'm being discriminated against because I'm a woman and a Filipino," she said.