DOJ files raps vs broker, mother who sold baby

Department of Justice (DOJ) facade

Inquirer photo/Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — A woman selling her 8-day-old baby and a government employee who served as her broker have been charged in court for qualified trafficking and child exploitation.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Monday that the baby’s mother, 29-year-old Ma. Chariza Dizon, and her broker, Arjay Malabanan, have been charged in the Manila Regional Trial Court. The pair may face life imprisonment if found guilty for qualified trafficking under the 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (Republic Act No. 9208) as amended by RA 10364.

READ: 2 arrested as police foil baby’s sale on FB

In a resolution dated May 17, Deputy State Prosecutor Olivia Laroza-Torevillas and Assistant State Prosecutor Claire Pagayanan of the DOJ’s task force against human trafficking recommended no bail for the trafficking charge. But on the child exploitation charge, they recommended a bail of P80,000.

The DOJ prosecutors said the evidence given by the Philippine National Police’s Women and Children Protection Center was “uncontroverted” and “sufficiently established” the crime of qualified trafficking of the newborn.

Dizon and Malabanan were arrested in a police entrapment operation on May 15 in Dasmariñas City, Cavite.

According to the DOJ, the PNP acted on the request of the National Authority for Child Care in February to investigate the “proliferation” of illegal adoption and child trafficking through Facebook.

Entrapment set

A police operative pretended to want to adopt a child and wrote on her Facebook account: “I’m hoping for a blessing … baby,” which drew several offers.

The operative reportedly received a message on Feb. 29 from an account named Kuy’s Jay, who later turned out to be Malabanan, offering to sell a newborn for P90,000, excluding his commission.

On May 13, Malabanan reportedly made several follow-up calls to the operative, including a video call where he showed his ID as a computer operator for the Dasmariñas City local government.

On May 15, the police operative and a companion who pretended to be the spouse met Malabanan and Dizon who brought her baby, at a church in Dasmariñas City, where the two were arrested.