A Laguna judge has sentenced to life imprisonment a woman charged for human trafficking after she was caught offering the sexual services of four women, one a minor, to a cop posing as a customer in 2016.
In a March 16 resolution, San Pedro City Regional Trial Court Branch 31 Judge Sonia T. Yu-Casano found Lilibeth Oligo, also known as "Ate Joan," guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified trafficking in persons, as defined and penalized under the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.
Oligo was arrested in the early morning of August 17, 2016 in an entrapment operation in San Pedro, where she offered and sold the "sexual services" of four females, including a 13-year-old, to a police chief inspector posing as a customer for P1,000 each.
She entered a not-guilty plea during her arraignment and denied the charge during trial, saying she had only been invited to a "drinking spree" by a friend around the time of her arrest, according to the resolution.
She said the vehicle she was boarding on the way to the venue was blocked by another vehicle, from which men and women who presented themselves as cops alighted and arrested her, the resolution stated.
But the court ruled in favor of the prosecution, deciding the criminal information against Oligo "sufficiently alleged" sexual exploitation of her four victims in exchange for financial gain, and that the prosecution witnesses established the elements of the crime.
"The court finds no reason to doubt the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. Their statements were consistent all throughout and supported by evidence," the resolution said.
Further, one the victims had also testified that she and the three other victims "had long been pimped by the accused."
The same victim, a 29-year-old woman, "also testified that despite knowing the accused as a pimp, she agreed to work with her because she needed the money to feed her children."
"Clearly, accused took advantage of AAA as one who needed money. Also, the consent of AAA to engage in sexual act with customers referred to her by the accused for a fee does not absolve the accused of liability. As defined under Section 3(a) of RA 10364 as amended, trafficking in persons can still be committed even if the victim gives consent," the resolution said.
The minor victim was discovered to have committed suicide at a nonprofit organization's shelter less than three months after Oligo's arrest.
Apart from getting life imprisonment, Oligo was also directed to pay a fine of P2 million and hand over to each of her three victims and the heirs of the minor P500,000 and P100,000 in moral and exemplary damages, respectively. —ALG, GMA News