The Prosecutor’s Office in Iligan City has dismissed the rape and sexual harassment cases filed by a writing workshop participant against US-trained science and technology journalist Timothy James “TJ” Dimacali.
In a resolution dated Jan. 30, 2020, Iligan City assistant city prosecutor Shirly Parmisana-Bisnar junked the rape by sexual assault and violation of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act cases filed against Dimacali due to lack of evidence and probable cause.
The cases were filed by the complainant in Iligan City as the alleged crimes were supposedly committed at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) during a writers workshop in May 2019.
The 25-year-old complainant from Cebu attended the 26th Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW) where Dimacali, the first Filipino to obtain a master of science journalism degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), served as speaker and one of the panelists.
At a party marking the conclusion of the conference, a sexual encounter transpired between the complainant and Dimacali, who were said to be both intoxicated at that time. The incident became the basis of the complaint, alleging that the complainant did not recall giving Dimacali her consent for oral sex.
But in the decision dismissing the complaint, Parmisana-Bisnar said “there was no mention that she was forced, threatened or intimidated by [Dimacali] to do such act.”
“Though seemingly the complainant wanted it to appear that her consent may be vitiated due to the level of her intoxication, but even during clarificatory hearing, she was asked whether she was forced, threatened or intimidated by the respondent to do such act and her answer was always in the negative,” the resolution read.
Parmisana-Bisnar also rejected the accusation hurled by the complainant that Dimacali “drugged” her that led her to lose consciousness and become sexually aggressive.
“Such theory, however, is not supported by any evidence. She failed to subject herself to a drug test to prove that indeed she was drugged by the respondent. The respondent denied having given her a drink much less drugged her. According to him, he is neither into drugs nor would use it [on another] person,” the fiscal said.
The resolution noted that the sexual act “was voluntary on the part of the complainant, taking into consideration the manner and circumstances surrounding the incident, that is, she was on top of him, he was lying flat on his back, she pulled down his trousers, she undressed herself, and performed oral sex on him. These circumstances would only lead to a conclusion that she wanted it and had done the necessary foreplay to get them into coitus.”
Parmisana-Bisnar said the testimonies of the witnesses also belied the claim of the complainant that she did not give her consent or that it was not consensual. The public prosecutor said it was the complainant herself who asked the witnesses “to leave the room when she and the respondent were trying to make out or on the verge of a sexual congress”.
In conclusion, Parmisana-Bisnar said the incident was actually just a mere “case of indiscretion between two consenting adults, which should have been left to the confines of the room and need not be paraded in social media”.
The prosecutor also absolved the respondent of the charge of sexual harassment as the acts complained of lacked the elements of the crime, primarily due to the fact that the “respondent did not demand, request nor require any sexual favor from the complainant”.
Prior to the filing of the case at the Iligan City Prosecutor’s Office, the complainant also lodged a complaint with the Iligan conference organizers. After an investigation, the convenors declared the incident as a “private matter between two consenting adults”.