A BRITISH national was arrested inside his condominium unit in Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City on Friday night, Nov. 8, 2019.
Police were looking into reports that the foreigner had been living with two minors in the past year.
However, the suspect, 61-year-old William Anthony Paul Becket, said he was sending the two boys, age six and 16, to school. That was why they were living with him, he said.
Police Lieutenant Erlinda Ma-yam, chief of the Women and Children Protection Desk of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said several nongovernment organizations had reported Becket’s “unusual” living arrangement to her office.
After they confirmed that the two boys were staying with him, they launched the rescue operation with the help of members of the Women and Children Complaint and Action Center Visayas Field Unit and representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 and the Children’s Legal Bureau.
Mayam said they found three laptops, three computer tablets, a personal computer and three cellphones inside the condominium.
Police also found a picture of Becket and the two minors who are cousins, P300 in cash, massage oil, passport, birth certificate and a letter from the boys’ parents, who consented to having their sons live with the foreigner.
“Dili na pasabot nga dunay pagtugot sa ginikanan, wala nay tulobagon ang suspek (Even though the parents gave their consent, it doesn’t mean the suspect cannot be held liable),” Mayam told Superbalita Cebu.
Because of the letter’s discovery, police will also investigate the boys’ parents who live in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City.
Becket will face a case for allegedly violating Republic Act (RA) 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, and RA 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.
Becket is kept in custody at the CCPO detention cell.
A foreigner caught in the company of a minor who is not his relative violates RA 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.
Section 10 (b) of RA 7610 prohibits any person to be in the company of “a minor, 12 years or under or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places.” / BBT / PJB