Woman selling ‘child porn’ arrested in DavNor

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DAVAO CITY- A suspected cyberpornographer who engages in child porn was arrested on May 6 in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte.

The operation was conducted by the the Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit (WCPC-MFU) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) based in Zamboanga City in coordination with the Department of Justice-Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking-Region XI (DOJ-IACAT-XI), Anti-Trafficking in Person Task Force (RATTF XI), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) XI, the Regional Intelligence Division XI of PNP, the Sto. Tomas Municipal Police Station and the International Justice Mission (IJM).

After receiving a lead from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that a certain Merdeka Antido is engaged in cyber-pornography of Filipino children since 2015 with foreigners of different nationalities as her clients, the Zamoboanga City-based  WCPC-MFU  headed by Police Captain Rassel L. Tuliao conducted a surveillance investigation to confirm the information received.

Acting under the guidance of the Investigator for Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC) and  Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) PSSg Joey A. Gumera, an undercover agent of WCPC-MFU pretending to be a foreigner began engaging with the suspect through Facebook messenger to validate the lead.

Through their constant online communication, the undercover agent was able to establish that the suspect is now residing in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte and is in her mid 20s. Upon further confirmation that Antido is still engaging in the cyberpornography of Filipino children, operatives of WCPC-MFU travelled to Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte to conduct an entrapment operation. 

After arrest, Antido was brought to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Davao del Norte for inquest proceedings where Provincial Prosecutor Norman Solis found that Antido violated three (3) laws – the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the Anti-Cybercrime Law, and the Anti-Child Abuse Law. The Qualified Trafficking in Persons filed against Antido carries the penalty of Life Imprisonment hence, Antido cannot post bail for her temporary release. 

DOJ-IACAT-RATTF XI in a statement hopes that arrests of this nature would deter others from engaging in cyberpornography especially those that involves children. Cyberpornography of children is a transnational crime, there is a strong international cooperation among law enforcement agencies in different countries to combat this reprehensible crime, making the world of perpetrators smaller. 

Deputy Regional Prosecutor Barbara Mae Flores and Assistant City Prosecutor Peter Paul Tombo represented the DOJ-IACAT-RATTF XI during the operation.

Police Captain Rassel Tuliao said that online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) is a kind of addiction by perverted persons which is difficult to eradicate. Nevertheless, they vowed to continually intensify their fight against OSEC. The challenge, however, is to involve the community by policing their own neighborhoods and to report to authorities any suspicious activities because before we know it, our children might be the next victim.

“With the involvement of the community, perpetrators can no longer act without fear and with impunity,” Tuliao said. (PIA/RG Alama with reports from RATTF XI).-Rudolph Ian Alama/PIA-XI

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