A 17-YEAR-OLD girl was rescued inside a night establishment in Sta. Cruz, Laguna by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7.

Four suspects remain at large: Domingo Malaza, owner of 4S Jomeruche’s Resto Bar; Patricia Malaza, manager; and Nicole and Carmel Bensig.

But agents arrested couple Nelson Lacsa and his wife Mheann.


They will all be charged with violating Section 6-A, or qualified trafficking in person, and Section 6-C, or trafficking committed by syndicate or large scale, in relation to Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 9208, or Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, as amended by RA 10364, or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.

NBI 7 Director Ricardo Diaz presented the Lacsas to Gov. Hilario Davide III and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.

Mheann told the media the bar owner is her father, but insisted that she works only as the bar’s cashier.

She said her husband was just visiting when agents conducted the rescue operation at 11:30 p.m. last Jan. 9.

But NBI 7 agent Agapito Guerran, who led the operation, said the couple accepted their payment when they posed as customers.

During the press conference, it was revealed that the victim Ashley, the third of nine siblings, was working as a house helper in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City when Carmel befriended her and offered her a job as a saleslady in Manila.

Without her mother’s knowledge, Ashley left with Carmel for Manila last Dec. 22.

When they got there, Nicole, Carmel’s uncle, brought Ashley to Laguna and introduced her to the bar owner.

Call for help

When the victim realized she was being sold, she was able to call her mother and told the latter about her circumstances.

When Ashley tried to leave, Carmel told her they each owe the bar owner P5,000 for their fare.

It was not determined, though, if Carmel is employed by the bar.

After that, Ashley’s movements were closely monitored and her phone’s SIM pack was changed so she couldn’t contact her family here in Cebu.

But she got word to a friend who texted her mother and gave the latter her address in Laguna.

Ashley’s mother went to the town’s municipal social welfare officer, who coordinated with the provincial social welfare officer, who sought the help of Provincial Women’s Commission.

The mother also sought the NBI 7’s help.

Aside from Ashley, Diaz said they also rescued two 16-year-old girls in the bar. One hails from Rizal and the other from Quezon.

The two have been turned over to the NBI office in their province.

Since Ashley was duped here in Cebu, Guerran said her case will be filed before the prosecutor’s office here.

With Diaz during the presentation were Guerran, and NBI Supervision Agent Rey Villordon.