Cop, wife held after 21 women rescued from trafficking gangPhilippine Daily Inquirer
ZAMBOANGA CITY— Police have rescued 21 women from a trafficking syndicate allegedly being run by a policeman and his wife during a series of operations in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson, Tawi-Tawi police chief, yesterday said most of the women were recruited from Maguindanao for nonexistent jobs in Sabah.
Jocson said seven victims were rescued from Sanga-Sanga Airport in Bongao around 9 a.m. on August 1. The victims were on their way to Zamboanga City where they would start their journey to Sabah.
At 1 p.m. on the same day, seven women were rescued from Fortune Inn, also in Bongao town.
In the evening of Aug. 1, police raided the house of PO1 Jonald Cuadra Ladjahassan and his wife, Verna, on Kalye Bisaya in Barangay Tubig Boh, where seven more women were rescued.
Ladjahassan and his wife were arrested during the raid, Jocson said.
Jocson said two of the women were found naked in the house of Ladjahassan. “They were forced to take drugs by this police officer,” said Jocson. He said Ladjahassan “is also into drugs.”
Ladjahassan is ironically assigned to the Bongao Municipal Inter-Agency Committee Against Human Trafficking.
Jocson said police launched the raids after one of the couple’s victims managed to escape and reported the women’s ordeal to authorities.
Many of the women, said Jocson, were from Maguindanao and had been duped to go to Tawi-Tawi supposedly as jump-off point to Sabah.
Police are preparing to file charges of trafficking in persons and use of illegal drugs against Ladjahassan and his wife Verna.
Jocson described Ladjahassan as a repeat offender.
According to Jocson, Ladjahassan had been arrested in May for the same offense along with his other wife, Maria Vema Gaticales. Gaticales, a media practitioner, was also a member of Bongao’s anti-trafficking committee.
Jocson said Ladjahassan and Gaticales had posted bail following their arrest in May.
But after she got out on bail, Gaticales sued Jocson at the Regional Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking. The case remains pending.
Jocson said the rescued women were taken to this city for documentation and filing of affidavits to support the cases against Ladjahassan and Verna.
The women, said Jocson, would be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Jocson said he believed “there are others in uniform involved in this illegal activity.”
In May, police rescued more than 100 trafficking victims, who were crammed into a budget hotel in this city, and arrested their recruiter. About half of the rescued victims are from Basilan and minors. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao