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Subject women in parricide cases to psychiatric treatment – Loren

January 29, 2010

WOMEN INVOLVED IN PARRICIDE CASES SHOULD BE FIRST TURNED OVER BY THE COURTS TO SOCIAL WELFARE AUTHORITIES AND SUBJECTED TO PSYCHIATRIC OR MENTAL HEALTH EXAMINATION BEFORE BEING THROWN TO JAIL. THIS WAS THE RECOMMENDATION OF SEN. LOREN LEGARDA WHEN ASKED TO REACT ON THE REPORT OF A MOTHER JUMPING INTO THE PASIG RIVER WITH HER TWO SMALL CHILDREN, WHO DROWNED.
Senator Legarda, who is running for vice president under the Nationalist Party and National People’s Coalition Party, blamed increasing hunger and poverty for the increasing cases of suicides and parricides involving parents and children in the Philippines.
Loren said that these women “may be suffering from temporary insanity because of extreme poverty and hunger, and unbearable concern for her children, whom she could not endure to see suffering continuously.”
“While we condemn their acts, we should also try to understand why they were driven to such acts, for it is unnatural for a woman to perform such acts,” said Loren.
Loren was reacting to the news item that a 40-year-old woman threw herself with her two young daughters, aged 5 and 8, respectively, off the Del Pan bridge in Manila last week. The mother was rescued by a scavenger, while the five-year-old daughter was later found drown, and her sister missing.
Last September, a 34-year-old woman killed her four children, including a nine-month-old baby, by drowning them in a river in sitio Manganese, Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava, Negros Occidental. Afterwards, she tried to drowned herself in the same river.
Police said the woman, who was rescued by neighbors, suffered from depression due to poverty. They said the woman must have lapsed into temporary insanity because she “talked nonsense.”
“Hunger and intolerable hardships may have driven these women to such acts of desperation that are contrary to their natural instincts to care for their children,” said Loren. “Anyway they are entitled to psychiatric or mental health examination before being charged with any crime. Being poor, unable to pay for legal help, they deserve some consideration.”
“That is why,” she said, “the next administration should exert utmost efforts to eliminate if not reduce poverty and hunger, and end this desperation that is afflicting many of our families and parents. That should be our priority.”
Loren pointed out that in the last quarter of 2009 the number of families experiencing hunger had increased to a new record high of 24 percent of the entire population or 4.4 million households as found by a survey of the Social Weather Stations.
The survey also found that 46% (an estimated 8.5 million) families considered themselves as poor and 39% (estimated 7.1 million) considered She added that there have been many more incidents reported throughout the country of mothers and fathers abandoning their children or killing them because of the deterioration of the economy in the past many years. She deplored that women and children are the most vulnerable to the effects of poverty.
“That is why it should be our mission and top priority to eliminate, if not reduce, hunger and push back poverty drastically. It is intolerable that a country such as ours which is rich natural resources should have so much hunger among the people.”
Loren advocated adoption of a “crash program” to produce more food by improving agriculture, supported by more activities in the industrial sector, and improving the environment. “This should be the top priority of the next administration,” she emphasized.