A couple from Bohol have been sentenced to 32 years for the online sex abuse of their three-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old niece.
Judge Angelica Paras Quiambao of the Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 59 also ordered the pair to pay more than five million pesos between them in fines and damages.
The convictions were secured with the assistance of the International Justice Mission (IJM), a global organisation that fights slavery and exploitation.
The court was told that the nine-year-old had been in the custody of the couple since she was two years old.
In a sworn affidavit, she described how her guardians made her undress in front of the computer for foreign perverts to watch.
“I couldn’t do anything,” she said. “I was just following their orders. Our neighbours in another house also made four children do the same thing.” She also said that the couple scolded or spanked her whenever she refused to do what she was ordered.
The online operation came to light after a tip-off from from Swedish police via the Bangkok-based Nordic Police and Customs Cooperation Liaison Office.
Acting on this information, an agent from the police’s Women and Children Protection Centre posed as a customer to arrange a “show” via Skype video chat.
The undercover officer, who posed as an American, was also able to deduce the identities and address of the couple by sending them money and a package to their apartment. The raid was conducted last November when the couple were caught red-handed offering online sex abuse.
In a 60-page decision issued by Judge Quiambao today (Tuesday, June 4), the court wrote: “Child pornography is a detestable act that every society must seek to eliminate. The offences involve sexual gratification at the expense of children, the supposed future shapers of our country. These offences become worse when committed by parents, guardians, and custodians of the victims, who are annihilating their very own blood. The court cannot be swayed by emotions as the rule of law must always be upheld. Indeed, facts decide cases.
“As the accused are the parents of victim BBB, and the uncle and aunt of victim AAA, pursuant to Section 16 of RA No. 9775, the penalties to be imposed shall be in their maximum duration.”
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