Two get life for trafficking in Lapu
THE Lapu-Lapu Regional Trial Court found two men guilty of qualified human trafficking and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
They were ordered to pay a fine of P2 million each.
The owner of the bar where they were arrested on June 3, 2008 is still at large.
The judge convicted a 42-year-old and 60-year-old for sexual exploitation of three girls and eight women in the bar which was raided by the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7).
RTC Judge Wilfredo Navarro of Branch 53 gave credence to the testimonies of the female victims.
The judge said the denials of the two arrested men were self-serving while did not find ill motive on the part of prosecution witnesses.
Lawyer Ricardo Amores, counsel of the two accused, said he will appeal the ruling in the Court of Appeals.
“I’m not satisfied,” he told reporters after the promulgation yesterday.
He said it was originally RTC Judge Gilbert Moises who tried the case.
“Judge Navarro’s decision was based on documents. He didn’t observe the demeanor (of the witnesses),” Amores said.
Moises used to preside over RTC Branch 53 in Lapu-Lapu City but was assigned back to the Palace of Justice in Cebu City.
Navarro was then tapped by the Supreme Court to replace Moises as acting judge of Branch 53.
Lawyer Mark del Mundo of the International Justice Mission (IJM) said the conviction “serves as some sort of deterrent. The government is serious (in the campaign against human trafficking). The law is strict. The penalty is stiff,” Del Mundo told reporters.
He said IJM recorded at least six convictions of human trafficking cases this year.
The IJM, a non-governmental organization, assisted two mothers in reporting to the NBI-7 about girls and women who were engaged in the flesh trade that resulted in the arrests four years ago.
Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 prohibits the “recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge … for the purpose of exploitation, prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation.”
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.