A day after the observance of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a child trafficker who recruited two (2) minor boys in Cebu was convicted for violating Republic Act 9208, as amended by Republic Act 10364 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court found Ramil Cañete guilty of qualified human trafficking after recruiting the victims and enticing them to become fashion models in Manila with a promise of a P60,000 salary. Sometime in October 2015, Cañete met the victims in a bar together with six (6) other minors. He presented himself as a talent scout and required his victims to undergo an audition. On the same day, he announced that only the two victims passed the said audition.
With the consent of the minors’ families, Cañete booked their plane tickets. While he claimed that he bought a ticket for all of them, the minors were not allowed to board the plane for failing to present their parents’ consent required by the airline officers. Cañete instructed the two to take the RORO to Manila and to meet him at the port area when they arrive.
Upon arrival in Manila, the three of them checked-in at a hotel in Cubao. Later that night, Cañete brought the victims to a warehouse of local beauty products and forced them to deliver the items to several beauty salons in the city. The victims worked through the night sometimes even until 7:00 am and were not paid salaries. When the victims asked Cañete when their modeling job will start, he threatened to leave them in Manila. On many occasions, Cañete would touch the victims’ private parts while they were sleeping and forced them to engage in sexual acts. Because of fear, the victims unwillingly complied.
On October 28, 2015, one of the victim’s family members in Cebu reported to the 1343 Actionline against Human Trafficking as they were concerned about their safety in Manila. The 1343 Actionline forwarded the case to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) who immediately coordinated with the Philippine National Police – Cubao Station 7.
The PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) together with CFO case officers and relatives of one of the victims conducted an operation to rescue the victims at the hotel where Cañete and the victims were staying. Cañete was taken immediately into custody by the PNP and subjected to an inquest proceeding by the DOJ.
Last July 31, 2017, Judge Angelene Mary W. Quimpo-Sale found Ramil Cañete guilty of the crime of Qualified Trafficking in Persons or violation of Section 4 of R.A. 9208, as amended by R.A. 10364. Because the victims are minors, Cañete was sentenced to life imprisonment, a fine of Two (2) Million Pesos, and was ordered to pay the victims One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100, 000.00) for moral damages and costs of the suit.
Through the coordinated efforts of the various agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. (VFFI), the survivors were provided with counseling services and educational assistance which are all vital for them to successfully reintegrate to their respective families and communities.
The case was closely monitored by CFO and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) since the time of reporting to the 1343 Actionline. The DSWD, VFFI, IACAT-Operations Center, and the Arellano Law Foundation also assisted the victims until the court decision was rendered. CFO leads the Advocacy and Communications Committee (ADVOCOM) of the IACAT which supervises the 1343 Actionline.
The 1343 Actionline is the first dedicated 24/7 national hotline that responds to reports from victims, families and the public about cases of human trafficking. The Actionline is also a means for the public to join the fight against human trafficking.
Submitted by: Commission on Filipinos Overseas
Contact Persons : Ms. Ivy D. Miravalles - 552-4740
Janet Ramos/ John Nichols Ruelos – 552-4744
Approved by : MARIA REGINA ANGELA G. GALIAS