DAVAO DEL NORTE -- A 35-year-old mother has been ordered to spend up to 25 years in prison for distributing on the internet sexual abuse materials involving her two sons, aged four and 11.
Last Monday, September 2, Connie (real name withheld to protect the privacy of her sons) pleaded guilty to attempted trafficking, child abuse, and conspiracy to commit cyber child pornography.
Aside from imprisonment, Judge Dax Gonzaga Xenos of the Regional Trial Court 34 in Panabo City, Davao del Norte also ordered the online trafficker to pay a total of P600,000 in fines and P900,000 in damages.
Connie was arrested during an entrapment operation at her residence in Carmen, Davao del Norte on July 18, 2019. She was caught sending photos of her 4-year-old son being sexually abused through an online messaging platform in exchange for money.
It was a joint operation between the Women and Children Protection Center – Mindanao Field Unit (WCPC-MFU) and the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU) 11. Both WCPC-MFU and RACU are units under the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The operation also led to the rescue of Connie’s sons.
In December 2015, members of the New South Wales Police in Australia found child sexual exploitation materials on a mobile phone owned by a male Australian offender. Connie’s two sons were shown in these materials.
The Australian suspect arrested on February 9, 2016. Forensic analysis of his phone revealed that Connie communicated with him.
In May this year, representatives from the Department of Justice’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-Iacat) 11 coordinated with WCPC-MFU after learning about this Osec case, which the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had previously referred to PNP.
“We also commend the conduct of the prior surveillance in a meticulous manner by the WCPC-MFU which produced an air-tight case leaving the accused with no other alternative but to plead guilty. Making use of the rule on cyberwarrants as an investigative tool is also very helpful in securing more evidence against an accused of an online sexual exploitation of children cases. We hope that this conviction would again serve to warn offenders and would-be offenders of OSEC cases that the government will use whatever resources available to go after them,” Deputy Regional Prosecutor Barbara Mae Pagdilao-Flores, also the chief of operations of DOJ-IACAT-RATTF in Davao Region, said.
“That another Osec perpetrator has been sentenced to more than 20 years of imprisonment shows that our justice system is serious about penalizing those who abuse our children online,” Col. Christine Tan, chief of WCPC-MFU, said.
So far in International Justice Mission (IJM)-supported cases, 70 persons have been convicted in the Philippines for Osec since 2011.
IJM has supported Philippine law enforcement agencies in operations leading to the arrest of 224 OSEC perpetrators and the rescue of 527 victims and children at-risk across the country. (PR)