2 ‘human traffickers’ fall (Bicol Mail)

2 ‘human traffickers’ fall
By Jason B. Neola

OCAMPO, Camarines Sur — Two women wanted for human trafficking fell into the hands of anti-human trafficking operatives in Bicol and the composite team of the Goa and Ocampo municipal police stations in this province last July 20.

The arrest came following the complaints filed by victims earlier transported to Manila, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan who were promised with lucrative jobs in those places.

Randy Daria y Balcueva, 20, of Barangay Balayan, Goa, Camarines Sur stated in his affidavit dated July 21, 2011 that on May 2010 the suspects sent him to San Miguel, Bulacan on the pretext of good employment.

He said he ended up as caretaker of a vegetable plantation which job he described as “hell” because he had to work from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m and allowed only to stop from working “when I am taking my lunch” and “the worst thing that happened to me there was that they did not pay me even a single centavo from the time I was hired until I got the chance to escape.”

On board a green van from Goa town, Merly de Luna, aka Merly Casaldon Misamis and Mila Pirit Millesca, both of Tabgon, Goa, Camarines Sur, were flagged down in a checkpoint in Barangay Poblacion West, this town. Along with them were five “new recruits” reportedly on their way to Manila, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

The police made available the names of the new recruits, except for the 17-year-old juvenile, as: Raffy A. Oliveros and Romnick A. Buenavente, of Barangay Balayan, Goa, Camarines Sur and brothers Niño and Nitoy San Juan, of Barangay Del Carmen, San Jose, Camarines Sur.

Upon questioning, the recruits told the police that they were instructed earlier by one of the recruiter-suspects to say that “they are just on a joyride to Manila” in the event that police or anybody will inquire about the purpose of their travel.

Police Senior Inspector Samuel De Asis Villamer, Ocampo chief of police, said the arrest was conducted after a series of surveillance several months ago when formal complaints were filed at the office of Atty. Salvador B. Reyes III, operations officer of Anti-Human Trafficking Activities in the region.

He said complaints against De Luna (or Misamis) and Millesca also reached the office of Police Senior Inspector Rodel Pescuela, chief of Goa Municipal Police Station. It was Pescuela and his men who conducted a series of investigation on the case and operationalized the surveillance that led to the arrest of the suspects.

De Luna and Millesca were accordingly committed to the Tinangis Penal Farm, in Pili, Camarines Sur while charges of human trafficking were filed against them before the Regional Trial Court in San Jose, Camarines Sur.

In their sworn statements, the recruits claimed that they were promised by the suspects of domestic employment either as caretaker of a poultry farm or a vegetable plantation in Manila, Bulacan or Nueva Ecija which they found “to be very attractive” because they were poor and jobless most of the time.

Also known as Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, human trafficking is penalized under Sec. 4 (a) in relation to Sec. 6 (a) and (c) of Republic Act 9208 which provides that: “Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Sec. 4 shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of not less than P1,000,000 but not more than P2,000,000 and any person found guilty of qualified trafficking under Sec. 6 shall suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P2,000,000 but not more than P5,000,000.”

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