Watchdog logs 4 online sex abuse-related convictions in Iligan

By Nef Luczon

March 9, 2023, 6:38 pm

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – An international watchdog advocating anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) has reported four major convictions In Iligan City last month as the result of long-established multisectoral cooperation.

In a statement, the International Justice Mission (IJM) said the February cases involved two men who were sentenced to serve up to 35 years in prison and pay over PHP1 million in fines and damages by a regional trial court through a plea agreement.

Both pleaded guilty, but one of them had a prior conviction in November 2021, also through a plea agreement.

Deputy Regional Prosecutor Karl Salcedo said the convictions should serve as a reminder to the perpetrators and people who violate our laws protecting women and children.

“This is also a testament to the effectiveness of the collaborative work between the government and non-government organizations, particularly IJM, here in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao)," he said.

In a recent case, two men were sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted trafficking under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

One of them faces additional imprisonment of up to 20 years for violating the newly passed Anti-OSAEC and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act of 2022.

The court also issued a stay-away order, prohibiting both suspects from being within 50 meters of their victims.

Lawyer and IJM Cebu Field Office Director Lucille Dejito said the convictions reinforced the message of deterrence in the community, which the public justice system is working to hold the perpetrators accountable.

"We are also encouraged to see that the local government of Iligan City has done remarkable work in leading the fight to combat online sexual exploitation of children in their locality by investing in training and directing resources to strengthen their infrastructure to respond to these cases," she said.

Prosecutor Jasmine Diaz, who handled the recent cases, is regarded by Salcedo and IJM as a firm believer in the plea-bargaining strategy.

Salcedo said the effort of plea deals will achieve the aims set by the Regional Anti-Trafficking Task Force 10 for the speedy trial of OSAEC-related cases. (PNA)