Human trafficking case dismissed-A A +A
Sunday, June 22, 2014
LINGAYEN -- Prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) finally dismissed the anti-trafficking in persons case filed against officials of an online English tutorial center here raided by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) sometime last March.
The complaint was filed by the Philippine National Police CIDG and the National Capital Region Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (NCR-CIDU) against the owners of the Kame Hachi Corporation, an online English tutorial center on Avenida Street, Lingayen.
Dismissed was the case for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9208, as amended by RA 10364, otherwise known as the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, against respondents Erlinda Tandoc, Leonora Ceralde, Josephine Gille, Rafael Tandoc, Takayuki Umeda, Jyunko Wang, and Masihiro Kishigami for insufficiency of evidence.
RA 10364 enumerates the elements of trafficking in person for prostitution or pornography as follows: (1) the offender maintains or hires a person; and (2) the person maintained or hired is engaged in prostitution or pornography.
The investigating body was composed of assistant state prosecutors Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra and Mark Roland Estepa and senior assistant state prosecutor and vice chairperson of the task for anti-trafficking in persons Edna Valenzuela who approved the dismissal.
The report of the body stated: "Nobody was (naked). While it is true that during the operation, not one of the employees was wearing their standard uniform, still they were not in their birthday suit and were just wearing ordinary clothes."
Chief Prosecutor Claro Arellano also approved the dismissal of the complaint on RA 10951 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act against the respondents "for being in violation of the search warrant and for not being in plain view."
However, the gun seized during the raid "shall still be confiscated in favor of the government."
In an interview regarding the dismissal of the case, Tandoc, who is the president of the Kame Hachi Corp., expressed her group's gratitude.
"We, the owners and tutors, are very happy, because finally, we got the justice that we deserve. Soon, we will get back all our computers and other things they seized from us which we worked hard for," she said, adding that "God is good all the time."
She added that they expect the resumption of their center's operations by the first week of July when they shall have retrieved all the equipment seized by the CIDG from then.
Nolan Evangelista, former mayor of Lingayen, and counsel of the respondents, said: "Human trafficking thrives in the Philippines because there are corrupt law enforcers who protect traffickers."
The raid at the three-storey building of Kame Hatchi happened on the night of March 17, when the company was accused by CIDG for alleged violation of RA 10364.
During the raid, operatives took all the computers and other equipment of the center and arrested the owners.
The online tutorial center owners and the about a hundred English-as-Second Language tutors immediately and vehemently denied the allegations.
The center caters to about 800 Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Russian young and adult students. (PNA)