Court drops trafficking case versus American
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Regional Trial Court has sustained the acquittal of an American national accused of violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act for lack of evidence.

RTC Judge Ester Veloso denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution questioning her decision acquitting Joseph Christian Bogo. Veloso said the court did not abuse its discretion in granting Bogo’s demurer to evidence.

 “The court believes it did not act with grave abuse of discretion in resolving the demurer. The prosecution’s evidence was evaluated vis-à-vis the elements of the offense charged, as alleged in the Information,” Veloso ruled.

She said the court does not subscribe to the theory of the prosecution that the videos allegedly taken by the accused of the victims having “catfight” while naked were not necessary to prove the case.

The prosecution contended that the mere testimonies of the offended parties are enough to establish the criminal liability of the accused. But, Veloso believes otherwise.

She dismissed the case citing that the barangay tanods who responded to the alleged nude filming on January 27, 2011 in Sitio Looc Barangay Malbago, Daanbantayan had no first-hand information about the incident.

 “It is clear that the barangay tanod had no first-hand knowledge of the activities going on between the accused and the women. A report was made to the barangay captain, who then assigned someone to verify the information. It was further established that when the tanod arrived at the scene, the accused was in his tent with four girls. There was no videotaping going on,” reads the decision.

 According to Veloso, when the tanods arrived the accused did not commit any crime.

“There were no overt acts within plain view of the barangay tanod that suggested that the accused was recruiting, hiring, or receiving minors for the purpose of pornography,” she added.

Veloso said the alleged pornographic videos obtained by the police came only after the accused was arrested and his camera was confiscated, thus, the evidence is inadmissible and cannot be used against him. — (FREEMAN)

ACCUSED ACIRC ANTI-TRAFFICKING ATILDE DAANBANTAYAN JOSEPH CHRISTIAN BOGO JUDGE ESTER VELOSO PERSONS ACT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT SITIO LOOC BARANGAY MALBAGO VELOSO
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