MANILA Two women, including a registered nurse, were arrested by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for child trafficking in Pasay City.
In a statement Wednesday, the NBI said operatives from its International Airport Investigation Division (NBI-IAID) apprehended the suspects, identified as Catherine Lagustan, a registered nurse, and April Rose Ramirez, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on Monday.
Initial reports said Lagustan and Ramirez managed to contact each other through the Facebook page Babies Home.ph which is found to be engaged in the illegal activity of selling babies.
Lagustan had allegedly been seeking to buy a baby to prove that her boyfriend got her pregnant.
Upon closing the deal, Ramirez agreed to fly from Cagayan de Oro and deliver the baby to Lagustan at the NAIA Terminal 3 at 10 p.m. on Sunday in exchange for PHP30,000.
However, Lagustan backed out of the deal when she saw the three-month old baby being sold by Ramirez had a cleft palate.
While she refused to take the baby, Lagustan said she was still willing to pay PHP30,000 and an additional PHP3,500 to the mother.
Lagustan then gave Ramirez PHP26,000 to arrange for a return flight while the nurse was handed the baby.
Lagustan eventually decided to seek the help of airport police when Ramirez did not return.
When Ramirez returned, Lagustan and the baby were gone. She decided to also seek the help of airport police.
However, airport police became suspicious that a child trafficking act had been taking place, prompting them to report the matter to the NBI.
Dimaano said Ramirez and Lagustan have been charged before the Pasay City Prosecutor's Office with child trafficking in violation of Republic Act No. 7610, the Anti-Child Abuse Law.
Also named as their co-respondent is the child's mother identified as Shiela Marie Mandawe, who hails from Cagayan de Oro.
Dimaano said the offense is non-bailable and carries a penalty ranging from reclusion temporal (12 to 20 years imprisonment) to reclusion perpetua (20 to 40 years imprisonment).
Meanwhile, the NBI official said the baby has been turned over to the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Based on investigation, Dimaano said Mandawe is married and wanted to get rid of the child she had with another man. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency