Angeles City computer technician gets life for role in online child abuse den

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Computer technician Christian Chaneco, aged 26, breaks down after hearing his life sentence. He had claimed he was only doing in job and was not directly involved in any online abuse of children. Photo courtesy of International Justice Mission

A computer technician from Angeles City has been sentenced to life imprisonment for assisting in the online sexual abuse of children.

Judge Katrina Nora Buan-Factora of the Angeles City Regional Trial on Thursday (April 11) also ordered Christian Chaneco to pay the victims 200,000 pesos in damages.

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The court found the 26-year-old guilty as “a co-conspirator in the scheme” and that “he participated by indispensable co-operation”.

The judge dismissed Chaneco’s defence that he was only doing his job as a computer technician upon the orders of his clients.

On July 12, 2013, operatives of the Philippine National Police Anti-Transnational Crime Division of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested Chaneco, Maybel Oranga and Bryan Sagmit in a house in the city for operating a cybersex den.

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Three children and three adults were rescued during the operation.

The International Justice Mission (IJM), a global organisation that fights to end slavery and the exploitation of children, said in a statement that the victims had been recruited for computer jobs but eventually deceived and forced into performing sex acts while being watched online by paying customers around the world.

On July 26, 2017, Oranga and Sagmit pleaded guilty to a lesser offence of attempted trafficking and were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, the IJM said. The court also ordered them to pay the complainants certain amount of money based on the Memorandum of Agreement the two parties had signed.

Chaneco, however, refused to enter into a plea bargain and opted for a full trial.

Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, imposes a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of up to five million pesos. 

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