Women tied to cult leader convicted of trafficking
TWO women were convicted last Tuesday for recruiting girls to join a local cult where they were later molested by its founder.
Judge Jacinto Fajardo of the Regional Trial Court Branch 53 found Elvira Daño and Brenda Dioquino guilty of qualified trafficking and violating Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
They were meted life imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of P2 million.
Daño and Dioquino were also mandated to jointly pay the offended parties P200,000 as moral damages and P100,000 as exemplary damages.
The primary accused, Sulpicio “Daddy Divine” Daño, in his ’80s, died in 2013.
In his March 28 ruling, Judge Fajardo gave credence to the testimonies of three minors, aged 14, 15, and 16, who were sexually molested by Daddy Divine.
In contrast, Fajardo considered the defense posed by the two accused as weak and unsubstantiated by evidence.
Daddy Divine, Daño and Dioquino were arrested by police with assistance from the International Justice Mission inside a compound in Barangay Agus, Lapu-Lapu City on May 8, 2009.
The mother of one of the victims earlier sought help from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to rescue her daughter who was molested by Daddy Divine inside his compound.
Three minors executed their sworn affidavits, saying Daño, whom they call “Mommy Lilibeth”, convinced them to stay in their compound since Daddy Divine will send them to school and pay for their schooling.
The victims said Daño and Dioquino also recruited them to be a part of the cult founded by Daddy Divine.
The three accused were consequently charged with qualified trafficking and child abuse in court.
Daño said she was assigned to take the blood pressure of their founder every morning and never recruited minors to have sex with Daddy Divine.
For her part, Dioquino said it was impossible for Daddy Divine to take advantage of the minors since the cult leader was sickly at that time.
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