MANILA

Woman gets reclusion perpetua for online sexual exploitation of children

TAGUIG CITY -- A woman who created child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM), including live video streams, was sentenced to reclusion perpetua (which is equivalent to life sentence) last October 15.

This brought to 15 the number of convictions for online sexual exploitation of children (Osec) during the community quarantine, in cases supported by International Justice Mission (IJM).

Judge Elisa Sarmiento-Flores of Taguig City Regional Trial Court Branch 163 found the accused guilty of violating Republic Act (RA) 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act) in relation to RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act).

Aside from being sentenced to reclusion perpetua, the perpetrator was also ordered to pay a fine of P2 million and pay each of her three victims P500,000 in moral damages and P100,000 in exemplary damages.

Operatives from the Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) arrested the perpetrator on May 5, 2016 in Taguig City for sexually abusing three children -- a boy aged 13 and two girls aged 11 and eight -- to create CSEM. All children are related to the perpetrator.

The case stemmed from a referral from the Australian Federal Police who arrested in 2015 a child sex offender in Australia. The offender admitted to viewing CSEM and livestreams of child sexual abuse from the Filipino perpetrator.

Iacat Executive Director Jinky Dedumo said: “I’m elated that we’re able to secure another conviction against a perpetrator of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. My hope is that this conviction helps hasten the healing for the three survivors. We can see how government prosecutors are fully committed to this work of delivering justice to all children whose lives have been turned upside down by this horrendous crime.”

Assistant City Prosecutor Dave Go, for his part, said: “We are thankful for the decision of Presiding Judge Elisa R. Sarmiento-Flores. May this serve as a constant reminder that sexual exploitation of children has no place in any society. We pray that the children find peace and healing.”

Lawyer Reynaldo Bicol, director of IJM Manila Field Office, said: “We commend our justice system partners for yet another conviction, this one being the fifteenth during the community quarantine, which sends the clear message that perpetrators of online sexual exploitation of children will not go unpunished. The Philippine Government has now convicted over 100 persons for engaging in this crime, and IJM is committed to supporting prosecution of these cases until justice is served to all victims.”

Osec is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or RA 9208 (as amended by RA 10364), which comes with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million.

Typical Osec offenses also violate RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) and RA 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009). Both have penalties equivalent to 20 to 40 years imprisonment. (PR)


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