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Cops heighten cyberporn watch in Western Visayas

/ 12:05 AM July 14, 2014

ILOILO CITY—Police in Western Visayas have intensified their monitoring of online fraud and cyberpornography operations in the region following the arrest of 44 Taiwanese and Chinese nationals in Iloilo City allegedly victimizing nationals in their countries.

Chief Superintendent Josephus Angan, police Western Visayas director, said the arrest should serve as a wake-up call for Iloilo and other areas in Western Visayas.

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“[The arrests] should signal to the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to intensify monitoring here because cybercrimes can be committed anywhere,” Angan told the Inquirer.

Police and immigration personnel arrested the Taiwanese and Chinese nationals in two separate raids in July in Mandurriao and Jaro districts in Iloilo City. The foreigners were operating in rented houses in subdivisions.

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The raids were based on a search warrant for violation of Republic Act No. 8484 (Access Devices Regulation Act) issued on July 7 by Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa, presiding judge of Branch 46 of the Manila Regional Trial Court.

Chief Insp. Gilbert Gorero, spokesperson of the Iloilo City Police Office, which supported the raids conducted by the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group, said those arrested victimized other Taiwanese and Chinese nationals by calling them and concocting stories of alleged nonpayment of debts and threatening them with prosecution or arrest. They would then offer to help resolve the concocted problem for a fee or by accepting the payment.

Those arrested at a rented house at Imperial Homes VI on Guzman Street in Mandurriao District rented the house at P75,000 per month. The raided houses had booths with telephones and Internet connections.

This was the first confirmed case of cybercrime operations based in Western Visayas.

Two days later on July 10, members of the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit raided a cyberpornography den in Lapuz District in the city and arrested four women, including a 16-year-old girl, allegedly posing nude and performing sexual acts online. Also arrested was the boarding house owner, Helon Delotavo, who denied knowledge of the cyberpornography operation.

Angan admitted that policemen in the region had no capability to trace and monitor online crimes being committed from the region.

“Aside from close monitoring at the community level, we have requested training on anti-cybercrime operations for our policemen in the region to enhance their capacity,” Angan said.

Among the other measures were close coordination with local government units and barangay officials for monitoring of houses, including boarding houses, possibly used for cybercrimes and pornography.

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