[In the news] Cardinal, mayor: Teach parents ‘to fight porn’ | Sun.Star

Cardinal, mayor: Teach parents ‘to fight porn’ | Sun.Star.

CEBU CITY — After the arrest of the couple who allegedly used their own children for cybersex, Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy said he will organize seminars in schools against the online menace.

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, in a separate interview, said the authorities “should be able to clamp down on the operators (of online pornography)” and lamented that the parents were practically selling their children.

He challenged other parents to discipline their children, “especially in using digital technology.”

“They should be careful in selecting what can be viewed by the children on the Internet,” he added.

The role of parents in the fight against cybersex was highlighted after the arrest in Cordova of a man and his wife and the rescue of five children, aged three to 15, and a 13-year-old niece.

Four of the children were still naked when agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) busted into their house around 9 a.m. last June 1.

Judge Meinrado Paredes issued the warrant that authorized the raid, after seeing a video grabbed from the online stream sent from the couple’s home computer.

“He stood up and walked away after just a few seconds. He couldn’t take it,” said Special Investigator Jed Hife, the NBI agent that led the raid.

Demonstration

The 10-minute video was a capture of the via-webcam chat session between the woman and a yet-to-be identified customer. The woman used the login name sexygirlpretty.

It showed her in front of her webcam, with four children, all undressed, in the background. She showed her body in front of the camera. Then she motioned the children to come to the console.

The children were seen exhibiting various sexual positions.

Sitoy said he will attend the meeting called by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on June 8 and will thank her for the Province’s help in the raid.

He said he is willing to work with the Province against human trafficking and cybersex, as these are crimes the town cannot fight on its own.

Mayor Sitoy said the seminars against cybersex will start this week, in time for the opening of classes, and he will coordinate with the Parents and Teachers’ Association.

Monitoring

Students will also be briefed that they can tell their teachers and the police, in case they notice their parents are engaging in cybersex.

“Ang mga anak na ang mobadlong sa mga ginikanan. (The children will be the one to call the attention of the parents),” he said.

Barangay captains were also asked to be vigilant against cybersex, Sitoy said.

Although he acknowledged the need to provide more livelihood programs for his constituents, he said he can’t accept the explanation of the husband that they resorted to cybersex because of poverty.

“Sila na lang unta. (They could have spared the kids),” he said.

Sitoy also said he regretted not being able to answer a letter from the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) about allegations of cybersex dens in the town, saying he never received it.

Cordova Police Chief Noli Cernio, in a previous report, also confirmed receiving reports about cybersex activities in the town.

He said they found it difficult to arrest the culprits and commented that when they applied for a warrant, a judge turned them down because they had no evidence.

Home-based

He said their biggest problem with this type of crime is that it takes place at home.

“We can’t enter their houses unless a search warrant has been issued against them,” Cernio said.

But the NBI “did not seem to have any problems securing a warrant,” a source from the PWC technical working group said.

“Sometimes, all it needs is some serious focus,” the source argued.

Special Investigator Hife confirmed that Paredes, who presides over the 13th branch of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) as well as serving as executive judge of the 7th Judicial Region, gave them the warrant immediately following their application last May 30.

The judge authorized the seizure of computers, media storage devices, data stored in electronic form, pornographic material or printouts, among other things.

Outrage

He cleared the agents to operate “at any time of the day or night and forthwith.”

“The judge couldn’t stand what he was seeing,” said Hife. She added that the same video was shown to her fellow NBI agents prior to the raid and it made them all want to volunteer for the operation.

The NBI lodged a complaint for one count of child abuse, one count of qualified human trafficking and five counts of child pornography against the couple a day after the raid.

Acting Provincial Prosecutor E. Joseph Berciles approved last Friday the filing of three child pornography cases, on top of a single non-bailable case of qualified human trafficking and one count of child abuse, upon the recommendation of the inquest prosecutor, Nelia Sistoso.

All the indictments will be endorsed on Monday to the Regional Trial Court in Lapu-Lapu City, which exercises jurisdiction over Cordova. (KNR/With RSA and BAP/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 05, 2011.

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