3 arrested for offering minors to foreigners

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2017 10:59 PM | Updated as of Oct 10 2017 12:28 AM

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division has arrested two suspected pimps and their accomplice in an entrapment and rescue operation in a motel in Sta Cruz, Manila Sunday.

Eleven victims, including eight females and three males, were rescued.

Five of the victims are minors.

Edna Balmes Babao alias Shane, 43 years old and her live-in partner, both residents of Oroquieta, Sta Cruz Manila, were arrested for offering minors to customers in exchange for money.

Babao was caught in a surveillance operation accompanying minors in a mall in Recto, Manila.

The information came from Destiny Rescue International, a non-government organization based in Thailand with advocacy on trafficking in persons.

Senior Superintendent Villamor Tuliao, chief of the PNP-Anti Trafficking in Persons Division, said: "Kung mapapansin niyo sa mga operations namin may mga kasama kaming foreigner, sila 'yung nag-refer nitong case na to. Ito yung mga cases ng minors na involved sa ibinubugaw."

“Doon sa surveillance yung mga foreigners, poseur ito ang ginamit namin. We just follow the lead, during the surveillance, talagang ino-offer ng target na ito ng mag-asawa ang mga bata,” he added.

According to ATIPD, when a booking is made for any of the victims, they are immediately brought to a motel in Sta. Cruz.

“Ito yung mga nakatambay (sa mall) and then ino-offer nung mga bugaw sa mga tao ang mga bata," Tuliao said.

“Doon na lang magkikita based doon sa ano nila during the entrapment operation, ang area ng meet-up place doon (sa motel), doon namin isinagawa ang entrapment operation at pag-rescue doon sa mga victim,” he added.

A recorded transaction showed how a booking is made.

The PNP and Destiny Rescue International conducted the rescue operation to save the victims.

The operation team planted foreign clients in a motel in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Inside the room, the victims male and female including minors were all paraded, ready for the client to choose from.

Babao stepped forward to receive the P8,000 marked money.

Operatives immediately arrested the suspect, her live-in partner Clarence Aragona, and their lookout Jeff Christian Gamba.

All 11 victims were rescued by authorities.

Randy (not his real name) said Babao or alias Shane was the one who recruited them and brought them to customers.

“Naglalaro lang ako noon sa arcade tapos nilapitan niya ko…P1,000,” he said.

According to Babao, someone called her, asking her to bring the victims.

“May tumawag sa kin, nagpapahanap 'yung foreigner daw,” she said.

The lobby of the motel had signs that no minors were allowed.

The PNP is now investigating if motel or hotel staff are liable for allowing minors inside, especially when report showed this was not the first time minors were brought inside by the suspects.

Babao and her cohorts will be charged with violation of the Anti Trafficking Act of 9208 and Republic Act 7610 or the Anti Child Abuse Law.