Three young children were rescued by ‘Cybercops’ from the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) during an anti-online child pornography raid in Taguig City Thursday afternoon which also resulted in the arrest of two suspects, one of them a pregnant woman, PNP-ACG director, Police Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar announced today.
The three children whose names were withheld were found inside a house in Barangay Tuktukan, Taguig City which was raided by PNP-ACG operatives 2 p.m. Thursday following a year of surveillance triggered by information from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) with the assistance of the International Justice Mission, Eleazar said.
“We have smashed another child pornography ring in the country as a result of the Taguig City raid which resulted in the rescue of three young victims and the arrest of their guardian and the lessee of the house,” the PNP-ACG director said.
In a report to PNP chief, Director General Ricardo C. Marquez, Eleazar said that the pregnant 23-year old suspect identified as Joann Santos Miranda was caught in the act of showing the naked minor victims online while Childa Alcones, 33, the lessee of the house was arrested for supporting and aiding the illegal activities inside her home. He said they were checking information that Miranda had been joining the children in performing sexual acts for an ‘extra fee.’
The two women are now facing charges for violations of Section 4(c)2 or Child Pornography of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act; RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; and RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Person Act. The rescued minors, two of them girls with ages 10 and 11 and the 3rd, a 13-year old boy are set to be turned over to Taguig City Social Welfare and Development Office.
According to Eleazar, the police operation led by Police Superintendent Jay Guillermo was referred to their office by the AFP.He said that during the initial investigation, the name of Joann Miranda was seen on the computer of an Australian identified as Kyle Dawson of Brisbane, Australia who was arrested by AFP officers and charged with a number of child exploitation offenses following a raid on March 18, 2015. The arrest was made after the AFP Child Protection Division discovered that the suspect and his associates were sharing images and videos of child pornography from November 15, 2014 to January 30, 2015.
Recovered inside Dawson’s house were videos stored in digital devices, many of them showing young children and adults involved in sexual acts. One of the ‘players’ in the video was later identified as Joann Miranda who, as it turned out was engaged in ‘pay-per-view child exploitation shows’ where young children engage in sexual acts for a minimum of A$50 to A$80 per show.
The official said it took PNP-ACG experts a year to locate Joann Miranda on the social media. “The use of technology to counter a cybercriminal was used to encourage Miranda to communicate with our online cyber patrollers” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said they have discovered that Miranda is asking online pedophiles to view a naked girl or boy for P4,000; a naked girl and a naked boy for P6,000; two naked girls and a naked boy for P8,000; and two naked girls and two naked boys for P12,000.
He said that Miranda used the Facebook profile ‘Naoj Adnarim’ (Joan Miranda in reverse) and the Skype account ‘Lyka Jane Miranda’ in offering the victims to the foreign pedophiles.
The official said he wants the suspects as well as the parents of the rescued victims be made answerable for their crimes.
Eleazar said that parents, relatives and guardians must be penalized in luring children for online pornography and exposing children for sexual activities.
“We could not imagine that these people are using children for money-making. The thing here is that they don’t think of the psychological effect of their illegal activities to their children” said Eleazar as he pressed to strictly penalize parents, relatives and guardians who lure their children to engage in online pornography at a very young age. “We should stop all people exposing children to sexual activities at a very young age.”
Eleazar said that online child pornography is a transnational crime that crosses borders and it cannot be detected unless there is a support from the international community.
He explained that the AFP gave them the initial information which they developed into an actionable police operation. “With a year of cyber investigation, online engagement, physical surveillance, and support from our international counterparts, we are able to obtain a search warrant issued by Honorable Reynaldo A. Alhambra, Executive Judge, RTC Branch 53, Manila and end the illegal activities of Joann Miranda”, said Eleazar.
Recovered during the raid were three cellular phones, three routers, three express gift cards, laptop, desktop computer, Globe Tattoo broadband, antenna, remittance receipts and assorted documents.
Thursday’s anti-child pornography raid was the latest to be conducted by the PNP-ACG. Last April 26, the Cybercops also arrested a woman who turned her three young daughters into online porn models catering to foreign pedophiles during an operation in Bicol region.
The April 26 raid led in the rescue of the woman’s daughters with ages 7,9 and 11 as well as her 1-year old baby boy inside a house in Barangay Salvacion, Calabanga, Camarines Sur.
In both cases, the suspects were found to have asked the victims to pose nude in front of a webcam where their clients can see them in exchange for money. The amount may increase in case the viewer wants the girl or the boy to touch themselves or perform simulated sex acts in front of the camera.
To help address the growing menace, the PNP-ACG has stepped-up the implementation of their Project ‘Angelnet’ which specifically promotes internet safety and protects children from the danger of the internet.
The program is being implemented by the PNP-ACG with the help of their different foreign and domestic partners. “This is part of our commitment to keep our children, students and even impoverished out-of-school youths safe online,” Eleazar said.
In 2015, the PNP Special Task Force Project ‘Angelnet’ investigated 136 cases of online child abuse, 41 of them referred by their foreign counterparts. Twenty-one of the cases investigated have been referred before different prosecutor’s office, Eleazar said.