Child trafficking case stirs suspicion of court

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12:07 AM July 21st, 2013

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By: Vincent Cabreza, July 21st, 2013 12:07 AM

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—A court here started a clarificatory hearing on the rescue in June of three Bulacan teenagers allegedly hired as sexual partners by a foreigner who managed to slip away from authorities without facing child abuse charges.

At a July 18 session, Baguio Regional Trial Court Judge Mia Joy Cawed required the Department of Social Welfare and Development and members of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to explain the circumstances behind the June 6 rescue of three teenage girls from Bulacan, who were allegedly lured to the summer capital by an Oman national.

Four CIDG officers have been relieved pending investigation because the Oman national had disappeared while under their custody, said Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, Cordillera police director.

Police have declined to identity the foreigner because of the ongoing investigation.

The Oman national, police said, was initially detained along with a suspected Filipino pimp.

But Magalong said the foreigner was later taken out of prison by CIDG personnel to supposedly undergo inquest proceedings before he was returned to the Baguio City Jail.

The Oman national, however, was not in jail when police checked, he said.

The Bureau of Immigration has been coordinating with the Philippine National Police to trace the foreigner’s whereabouts, police said.

The CIDG did not provide details about the rescue of the three girls, but Magalong said it was overseen by the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer.

But the rescued girls were placed under CIDG custody instead of a social worker, which irked Cawed.

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