BUTUAN CITY — Police rescued 13 victims, including 12 minors, from a suspected cybersex den in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte Thursday morning, 21 May.
The minors are 1 to 3 years old tagged as children at risk and nine 11 to 19 years old believed to have been forced to engage in sexual acts in exchange for payments of P2,000, P5,000 and P20,000 depending on the kind of “show” requested by the online client both from Philippines and abroad.
A female suspect, 28, single and a resident of Purok 5, Barangay Ambago, Butuan City has been charged with child pornography committed through a computer system or violation of Section 4 (c) (2) of Republic Act (RA) 10175 also known as “The Cyber-Crime Prevention Act of 2012. She and her live-in partner were also charged with conspiracy.
Judge Isam J. Echem-Tangonan of Branch 33, Regional Trial Court, 10th Judicial Region, Libertad, Butuan City issued the search and arrest warrant dated 20 May 2020 which also resulted in the arrest of the suspect’s live-in-partner.
According to the Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit (WCPC-MFU), surveillance and case build-up were conducted against the suspect in December through cyberspace patrolling.
Meanwhile, the search of the sex den yielded pieces of evidence of the crime such as assorted cellphones, assorted identification cards, remittance cards, MLhuillier receipts, Palawan receipts, Cebuana Lhuillier receipts, lubricant, tablet and router.
Also seized from the suspects were four improvised long firearms, a replica of caliber 45; one caliber 38 revolver with six live ammunition and bladed weapons believed to be owned by the live-in partner of the arrested woman.
The suspects and pieces of evidence were brought to the Butuan City Police Station 3 for proper disposition while the victims were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-13 for processing and evaluation.
This WCPC-MFU is preparing pertinent documents for filing of cases against the arrested suspects for violations of RA 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003) as amended by RA 10364 (Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012), RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009), RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) and RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act).
“This commendable accomplishment is attributed to the collaborative efforts of all those involved in the major police operation. The PNP, as the prime law enforcement agency of the land, is committed to protect those who are victims of all kinds of abuses especially our young children who are the future leaders of our country,” said PNP Caraga chief Police Brig. Gen. Esquivel, Jr.
“I encourage all the people of Caraga to help us in the prevention of crimes and ensuring peace and order in the region by immediately reporting to your nearest police station any criminal activities in your locality. Rest assured that your identification will be kept confidential and anonymous,” he added.
Aside from officers from the WCPC-MFU, the other arresting officers are from the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit of Region 10 and Region 13, Regional Intelligence Division 13, Regional Women and Children Protection Desk 13 and Butuan City Police Office.
Assisting in the raid were the DSWD Caraga, Department of Justice Regional Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking 13, Regional Anti-Trafficking Task Force 13, International Justice Mission, a non-government organization, the Australian Federal Police, and Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation-Integrated Development Center, Inc.