Release Japanese nationals nabbed for cybersex den operation – DOJ
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the release of three Japanese nationals and four Filipinos after the police failed to include in their complaint the evidence that the seven respondents are allegedly engaged in the operation of a cybersex den in Pangasinan.
In a six-page resolution, the DOJ said if not for the title in the complaint affidavit and clarificatory questioning, it would not have known that Takayuki Umeda, 42; Jyunko Wang, 36; Masahiro Kishigami, 26; Erlinda Tandoc, 40; Leonora Ceralde, 38; Josephine Gille, 34 and Rafael “Raffy” Tandoc, 25 violated Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 and RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
The seven were arrested last March 17 following a raid conducted by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission at Kame Hachi Corporation, Japanese Learning School in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
“The complaint affidavit of the arresting officers merely stated that the police officers implemented the search warrant issued by the [Pangasinan] court. Nowhere in the said affidavit was it shown how the crime of trafficking in persons was committed,” the DOJ resolution signed by Assistant Prosecutors Gilmarie Fe S. Pacamarra and Mark Roland Estepa stated. The resolution was approved by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edna A. Valenzuela, Vice Chairperson of the Task Force on Anti-Trafficking in Persons, and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.
“It would have been more prudent, to say the least, for the police officers to have presented the witnesses and/or submitted the affidavits that were used in the application of the search warrant from the Regional Trial Court of San Carlos City, Pangasinan. This, they do not do,” the DOJ resolution further stated.
During questioning, the police said the rescued victims were supposed to be teachers posing nude in the online messaging service Skype and inviting Japanese nationals to the country in exchange for sexual favors. But the resolution noted that the police failed to present any evidence to support their claims.
On the other hand, the seized items the police enclosed in the complaint were only printed copies of colored photographs of the seized items. Among the items seized were six laptops, 55 units of desktops, 44 sets of CPU, one unit of a Toyota Grandia, one unit of .22 caliber magnum, webcams, headsets, power supplies, flash drives, five mobile phones, passports, ATM cards, transaction payments, and cash in pesos and yen.
Still, the DOJ did not dismiss the anti-trafficking case since the Pangasinan court has found basis to issue the search warrant against the supposed school. It gave the police the chance to present their evidence in a preliminary investigation on April 2.
Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed the case for Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act after the police admitted that the confiscated .22 caliber gun was not part of the search warrant issued by the court and for the police’s failure to produce documents to show that the gun has no license. The resolution also added that the police did not even know the owner of the firearm.
The prosecutors said that the gun shall remain with the government until the owner has produced the required documents to claim it.
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