TAGBILARAN CITY – The couple, Matthew and Dalisay Dwinells, both are U. S. citizens, are facing charges for violations of laws on trafficking in persons and Anti-child Abuse law, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) based here said. NBI officer Atty. Arcelito Albao bared this following the arrest of the couple and rescue last week of 38 children who are mostly minors in custody of the couple residing in a rented house in barangay Bool, this city.
The house owner is identified as one Lina Charles, a Filipina wife of French national Philip Charles, according to Bool barangay chairman Dodong Mendez.
He said the suspects allegedly violated the laws, namely: R.A. 9208, as emended by Republic Act 10364, “Expanded Anti-Trafficking In persons Act of 2012” and R. A. 7610, An Act Providing For Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection against Child abuse, Expolitation and Discrimination and For Other Purposes.
Albao said the charges were filed before the City Prosecutors Office.
The law (R.A. 10364 under Section 12) provides that any violator found guilty of committing any of the acts defined in the said law shall suffer the 20-year imprisonment and a fine of not less than P1,000,000.00 but not more than (P2,000,000.00).
Under Section 3 of said law, trafficking in Persons refers to the recruitment, obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, transportation, transfer, maintaining, harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of threat, or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.
Provincial social officer Mita Tecson told the Provincial Peace and Order Coucil (PPOC) meeting held recently in Maribojoc town that there are more minor children than 18-year olds and above. But their identities remain undisclosed for confidentiality’s sake as provided for under the law, she said.
Some twenty-five children — 23 minors (10 males and 13 females and two above 18 years) are from Cebu; 11 from Bohol (nine minors and two 18-year old above); and two (one minor and one 18 and above) hail from Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, she said.
Albao said that the children were with their parents when the suspects were arrested.
Tecson said that all females were placed in custody of Bohol Crisis Intervention Center (BCIC), a provincial government-managed facility for women in distress while the males in a licensed orphanage house in nearby Cortes town.
NBI operatives together with Department of social Welfare ad Development (DSWD) officials rescued last Saturday (Oct. 22, 2016) the 38 children in an alleged orphanage house in said barangay. The operation collared the Dwinells who are both U. S. citizens.
NBI also found out that the facility had no license from DSWD to operate and allegedly no consent from the children’s parents. (rvo)