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Trafficking case dismissed

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol July 30,2015 - 01:02 AM

Couple Ricardo and Myrla Ramos are emotional after a judge aquitted them in a case of human trafficking. (CDN PHOTO/ CHRISTIAN MANINGO)

Couple Ricardo and Myrla Ramos are emotional after a judge aquitted them in a case of human trafficking. (CDN PHOTO/ CHRISTIAN MANINGO)

The couple who was accused of hiring and exposing a 17-year-old girl to prostitution in downtown Cebu City four years ago was cleared of  the charges.

Ricardo and Myrla Ramos were found not guilty of violating Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

Judge Gilbert Moises of the Regional Trial Court Branch 18 in Cebu City  dismissed the case for “insufficiency of evidence.”

The judge accepted  the confession of the alleged victim who said she was not telling the truth about the husband and wife.

“The admission of the victim that she lied in her affidavit despite the fact that its contents were thoroughly explained to her with the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare social worker cannot be taken lightly,” the judge said.

The law mandates that “doubts must be resolved in favor of the accused.”

Although qualified trafficking is a non-bailable offense, the judge, in 2013,  granted bail to the couple since evidence  presented by the prosecution was not strong.

“The credibility of the victim’s testimony was already raised,” said the judge but the prosecution did not try to present additional evidence.

The couple wept after the verdict was announced in open court yesterday morning.

“Nagpasalamat mi sa Ginoo. Wala gyud mi sala. (We are grateful to God. We did not commit a crime),” Myrla told reporters.

Lawyer John Tanagho, deputy field office director of the International Justice Mission (IJM)-Cebu, said they will review the court’s decision to determine whether or not an appeal is needed.

“Nevertheless, IJM respects the decision of Judge Moises. The arrest and prosecution of the couple just shows that law enforcement in the Philippines is serious in combating cases of human trafficking,” he told reporters.

Tanagho said IJM and law enforcement agencies in the country will continue to go after pimps and traffickers who  exploit Filipinos.

The two accused were arrested in an entrapment operation by police on April 14, 2011.

They were accused of offering the 17-year-old victim to prostitution.

The girl executed an affidavit against the couple but later recanted her testimonies.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, family, human trafficking, prostitution, sex

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