From Counsel of 52 arrested in Bicol for false claim of “sextortion”
Refer to: ATTY. BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUNA CAUSING
PNP recklessly perverted truth in
claiming cyber ‘sextortion’ in Bicol
In the name of justice, we the lawyers of 52 young men and women arrested on Labor Day in Camarines Sur for alleged “sextortion” are exceedingly disgusted by the reckless perversion of truth committed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Particularly, we address our disgust to its CIDG’s Anti-Cyber Crime Group (ACG) because it reported to the whole world that this group of youth in Bicol used pornography that led a 17-year-old Scottish to commit suicide in the United Kingdom.
To top it all, the PNP ACG did not even charge any case of sextortion against the Bicol group.
Grossly careless, the PNP’s anti-cyber crime group announced in a well-organized media blitz while the operations were still ongoing simultaneously to arrest 58 persons: that it arrested 3 in Laguna and Taguig, 3 in Bulacan and 52 in Naga City and Camarines Sur.
In announcing, the PNP recklessly disregarded the fact that in the reports of Scotland Police, international groups and intelligence agencies of other countries there was only one victim: the Scottish minor.
In the reports, it was stated that the Scottish boy chatted with a “sextortionist” in the Philippines who recorded the compromising acts of the young man before the camera and who then demanded money from the Scottish in exchange for not exposing the recorded acts to his friends. Because the boy no longer had money to give, he committed suicide.
The PNP recklessly disregarded the fact of life that there can only be one person or one group of persons who could have done the alleged “sextortion” on one person and there can only be one IP (internet protocol) address or one computer set.
But the PNP ACG applied for search warrants for Laguna, for Taguig, for Bulacan and for Camarines Sur’s three places, in Libmanan, Nabua and Naga City. This means that the police secured two search warrants from two courts, in Manila and Iriga Cities, to search one particular place in Naga. The police also did the same in the place it raided in Nabua and did the same in the establishment they raided in Libmanan.
By applying for search warrants in many places, it means the PNP ACG was stupid and in the process committed a stupid mistake of making it appear that all the 58 persons they arrested in Laguna, Taguig, Bulacan, Naga, Libmanan and Nabua conspired with each other and simultaneously or spontaneously did the act of recording the camera acts of that Scottish boy and in extorting money from the same boy. How could 52 persons in three different places conspired to victimize the Scottish cannot be imagined to happen.
It turned out that the affidavits of search and arrest submitted by PNP ACG for their raids in Naga, Libmanan and Nabua showed that they filed only cases of publishing, selling and exhibiting pornographic photos and videos.
But another truth is that in the cases filed by the PNP ACG it even failed to submit evidence that there was one person who bought those alleged pornographic materials or who watched the allegedly published porno images and videos.
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Camarines Sur and the Office of the City Prosecutor of Naga rejected most of the cases filed by the PNP ACG. These offices approved only the filing of allegedly exhibiting sexual organs or sexual activities although not one person arrested in Bicol was caught exhibiting a porno material to another person through the internet.
The prosecutors in Bicol rejected the charge filed by the PNP ACG accusing that those arrested in Bicol defrauded credit cards of other persons. This was because the PNP ACG did not even submit one credit card or one person defrauded of credit card called “access device” by Republic Act 8484.
Also rejected is the charge of the PNP ACG that the persons arrested in Bicol committed “identity theft” under the new Cybercrime Law or Republic Act 10175 because its operatives could not even present one person whose online identity was stolen.
Also clear is that the PNP ACG did not even charge any “sextortion” case against those arrested in Bicol.
The parents of the 52 are decrying the acts done by the PNP ACG because the false news spread to the whole world. “Marami pong nagsisitawagan sa amin galing abroad at nagsasabi na binanggit ang mga pangalan ng aming mga anak,” one parent cried.
We are for the campaign against criminals but we are enemies of planting and invention of evidence and mortal foes of officials who announced to the whole world falsities.
We therefore demand from the PNP ACG to correct its recklessness and for it to stop violating human rights and destroying other people’s name and honor.