Del Castillo impeach bid a 'personal' battle for comfort women

MANILA, Philippines – The impeachment of Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo is a personal battle for 79-year-old Maria Quilantang, a comfort woman whose father was killed during World War II.

Quilantang is currently at the House justice committee hearing that will discuss probable cause regarding Del Castillo’s impeachment on Tuesday, February 14.

The magistrate is accused of betrayal of public trust after he allegedly plagiarized the works of 3 foreign experts in a decision he wrote in 2010. This involves his dismissal of the 70 Filipino comfort women’s petition to compel the Philippine government to get a public apology from Tokyo and to provide reparation to sex abuse victims during World War II.

Tunay ko po itong karanasan kaya masakit sa aking kalooban,” Quilantang said in an interview with Rappler while waiting for the hearing to start. (This is from personal experience so it’s painful for me.)

Kung maririnig po naming na mawawalan ng saysay ang aming pinaglalaban, siyempre ano po ang mararamdaman namin?” said Quilantang, member of the Malaya Lolas who filed the impeachment complaint against Del Castillo. (If we will lose our cause, what do you think will we feel?)

Virginia Pinlac, lawyer of the Malaya Lolas, said Thursday’s hearing is important because the House will verify if there is a prima facie case for Del Castillo’s impeachment.”

“They will need to ask the lolas to testify on the complaint,” Pinlac said.

The hearing has yet to begin as of posting time.

Last February 7, the House Committee on Justice declared the impeachment complaint against Del Castillo as “sufficient in grounds.” 

Incidentally, Del Castillo took a leave from office this week to undergo a heart bypass. –


Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at