MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Dental Association is asking the government to take action to stop robberies and sexual molestation of female dentists that continue unabated in Metro Manila.
“I am appealing to all government officials, including President Benigno Aquino, to give attention to this and to help us take proper action against these crimes,” PDA president Roberto Tajonera said in an interview at his clinic in Sampaloc, Manila.
Tajonera said the PDA has sent a letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima asking for whatever help she could extend.
Although the PDA has been closely coordinating with the police since the robbery-rape case in Paco, Manila last May, followed by a robbery-molestation in a Quezon City clinic in June, Tajonera said the situation remains “alarming.”
He said that a clinic in Las Piñas was victimized with the same robbery-molestation modus operandi two days ago. He said a Quezon City clinic was also robbed five days ago, even while the dentist’s husband was there.
Tajonera said that since December 2010, they have recorded 31 clinic robberies nationwide, including instances where the dentists were sexually molested.
Tajonera said he believed that an organized group, and not just an individual perpetrator, may be behind the dental clinic crimes.
He quoted the statement made by an arrested clinic robber to a dentist victim in Valenzuela City last December: “‘Pasalamat ka ako naka-assign dito kundi ire-rape pa kita!’” (“Be thankful I’m the one assigned here or else you would also get raped!”)
Tajonera expressed hope at least one of the recent clinic robbers, particularly the Paco robber-rapist, will be arrested soon.
The PDA has released a memorandum to its chapters nationwide detailing some crisis management tips based on dialogues with the police. The PDA is also set to invite military officials to give security lectures in their regional conferences.
However, Tajonera lamented that private professionals like dentists are mostly left to their own devices despite the pattern of crimes seemingly singling them out. “Who will come to our rescue?” he asked.