By Benjamin Pulta

(File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said it has filed qualified trafficking and child exploitation charges against members of a criminal syndicate selling babies online.

In its five-page resolution, the DOJ Task Force on Women and Children and Against Trafficking in Persons said the charges were filed against Arjay Malabanan and Ma. Chariza Dizon before the Manila Regional Trial Court.

The charges stemmed from a complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center (PNP-WCPC) before the DOJ against Malabanan and Dizon, based on the information reported by the National Authority for Child Care regarding a “black market” in social media groups/communities where aspiring parents seek to illegally adopt children.

An entrapment operation conducted by the PNP-WCPC at the Immaculate Conception Church in Dasmariñas City, Cavite on May 15 yielded “Kuy’s Jay,” who later turned out to be Malabanan, offering to sell a newborn for PHP90,000 to undercover law enforcers.

Malabanan, a resident of Bacoor, Cavite, is an employee of the Dasmariñas local government.

Dizon, a resident of Tondo, Manila, is the mother of the rescued male 8-day-old.

“Evidence adduced sufficiently established the crime of qualified trafficking; respondents facilitated the adoption of the newborn baby; facilitation of the adoption was for a consideration of ninety thousand pesos (PHP90,000.00); purpose was to facilitate illegal adoption; the trafficked victim is a child; and the act of trafficking was committed by or through the use of ICT or any computer system, the transaction having been done through Facebook messenger platform,” the DOJ resolution stated.

“The act of respondents in selling the newborn child is an act of exploitation,” it added.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla assured justice will be served.

“Children are the most precious treasures of society meant to be fully protected by law. They are the best investments of today for a better tomorrow. We will never allow anyone to exploit them in any way,” Remulla said.

“Let us be the defenders of this vulnerable sector and innocents who desperately need us.” (PNA)