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Plea Bargaining Results in the Swift Conviction of a Female Suspect for Online Sexual Exploitation of Children Offenses Two Months After Her Arrest

MINDANAO, Philippines - On September 21, 2022, a female suspect plead guilty to offenses related to the online sexual exploitation of children in Iligan. This was the penalty for abusing minors in exchange for money online. The conviction was the conclusion of a July 20, 2022, operation in one of the remote barangays in Iligan City conducted by the Women and Children Protection Center Mindanao Field Unit (WCPC-MFU) and other local law enforcement units. During the operation, police were able to rescue 6 female victims among which were 2 adults and 4 minors. They were all biologically related to the suspect, with 2 of them being her own daughters.

The July 20 arrest built-up strong evidence for the prosecution as the same suspect plead guilty to offenses related to online sexual exploitation two months later thru plea bargaining

RP Merlynn Uy from the Office of the Regional Prosecutor, Region X had this to say in reaction to the case:

“The recent conviction that we secured in the case of People vs. Jane Alinsonoren for Attempted Trafficking in Persons and Child Abuse is a testament to our strong commitment to continue and sustain our efforts in the fight against human trafficking in the Northern Mindanao Region.”

In relation to the prosecutor’s statement, Atty. Lucille Dejito, Director of IJM Cebu Program Office had this to add:

“This recent conviction through plea bargaining reinforces the impact of deterrence brought by effective law enforcement and the relentless efforts of the Department of Justice to secure perpetrator accountability. Plea agreements during the pre-trial stage still uphold accountability of criminals under the law but spare the victims from going through the rigors of trial.”

For charges related to R.A.9208, as amended by R.A. 10364 and R.A. 11862, the suspect plead guilty for attempted trafficking which carries a penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a fine of Php 500,000. The court also ordered her to pay an additional Php 50,000.00 for civil liabilities per complainant.

For charges related to R.A. 7610, she was sentenced to 2 years 4 months 1 day up to 4 years 2 months under Section 10(e)(3) and ordered to pay each complainant P50,000.00 for civil liabilities.

For violation of R.A. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 in relation to R.A.10175, the suspect was sentenced to serve the minimum sentence of 2 years 4 months to up to 4 years 2 months 1 day under Section 10(e) (3), RA 7610 and ordered to pay civil liabilities amounting to P50,000.00 per complainant.

Key Terms:

Online sexual exploitation of children is a crime that violates the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act or Republic Act (RA) No. 9208 (as amended by RA 10364 and RA 11862), 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). A new law, RA 11930, Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act has been enacted to further strengthen accountability for OSEC offenses. Both have penalties equivalent to 20 to 40 years imprisonment. ###

*IJM is withholding the name of the perpetrator to protect the children’s identities

**The Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the Luxembourg Guidelines, prescribes the use of the term “child sexual abuse material” or “child sexual exploitation material” instead of “child pornography”, except when referencing the name of the statute. Sexualized material that depicts or otherwise represents children is a representation, and a form, of child sexual abuse and should not be described as “pornography.”

Learn more: osec.IJM.org

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