MANILA – The Court of Appeals upheld the life sentence handed down by the Taguig City court to a Portuguese citizen and a Filipina who were found guilty of running a cybersex lair in Angeles City in 2008.
In a 16-page decision dated October 15 and written by Associate Judge Ramon Cruz, the 11th Division of the CA upheld the 2019 ruling of Section 266 of the Taguig Regional Court that sentenced the Portuguese Jorge Manuel P. Ribiero (aka George Smith) and Rowena Pineda for human trafficking and fined PHP 3 million each and an additional PHP 600,000 in damages.
A third accused, Maricel Sebastian, is on the run.
The case arose from the complaint of “Maritess”, a resident of Taguig who claimed to have been recruited on June 10, 2008 to work in an internet café.
She was then relocated to three apartments operating as cybersex dens in Barangay Bagong Bayan and Cutcut, Angeles City.
Maritess was forced to engage in sexual acts in front of customers online via the livejasmin.com website.
She later ran away when ordered to accompany an underage colleague to a bus terminal in Dau, where she sought police assistance.
The CA asserted that the defendant’s defense that the complainant “was not deprived of her liberty when she stayed in the apartment, which turned out to be a cybersex den, is irrelevant” because according to the law, human trafficking it is committed with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge.
The court said the photos and computer files of inmates of naked women posing in front of a camera or engaging in sexual acts with each other “undoubtedly reinforce the prosecution case because the accused were actually maintaining a cybersex and sexually exploited lair. several women “. (ANP)