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Mother ‘sells’ baby to settle e-sabong debt, wants child back

A 22-year-old mother said she wants her eight-month-old baby back whom she gave up for "adoption" for P45,000 so she could settle her debts due to online sabong, according to Mariz Umali’s “24 Oras” report on Friday.

The mother said she exchanged messages with a certain individual on March 1 who was interested in adopting her child for an amount.

“Nagkausap po kami sa online po, sa group ng bahay ampunan tapos doon nag-comment siya, nag-pm sa akin. Nagoffer siya ng P20,000 tapos meron pa akong ibang kausap tapos sinabi ko rin sa kanya na may kausap din po akong iba may nag-ooffer na mas malaki.,” the mother said.

(We messaged online, in a chat group of an orphanage group and then they commented, and talked to me through private messages. They offered P20,000 and then I said there were other people offering higher price.)

“Tapos sabi niya sige P40,000 fixed tapos sabi ko sa kanya kung pwede P50,000. Ngayon sinabi niya sa akin hanggang P45,000 lang,” she added.

(Then we agreed on P40,000 fixed then I told them if P50,000 is possible. However, they said they can only give P45,000.) 

After they agreed on a certain price, they met at a fast food store in Quezon City on March 3.

The mother said the person asked for her ID and for her to sign documents.  She said she was not given a copy of the document.  She also did not have a photo of the person who took her child.

“Binalikan ko po chinat ko rin po siya pero blinock na po niya ako. Sana po makipag-ugnayan na po siya, ibalik yung anak ko. Ibabalik naman din po yung pera. Sana po makipagtulungan siya kasi ibabalik din naman po yung pera at saka yung ginastos niya po ibabalik naman po ibalik lang po niya yung anak ko,” the mother pleaded.

(I messaged them but they blocked me. I hope they will communicate with us and bring back my child. We will return the money. I hope they will cooperate because the money will also be returned to them and the money they spent will also be returned just bring back my child.)

Meanwhile, the father of the child said he was not aware of the plan to "sell" his child, blaming her financial woes to addiction to online cockfighting.

“May mga utang siya, marami siyang utang nalulong po kasi siya sa online sabong eh. Hindi ko po alam na ibebenta po niya,” the father said.

(She has debts, she has a lot of debts because she got addicted to onine sabong. I didn't know that she would sell our child.)

“Eight days na pong mahigit nawawala yung anak ko eh, sana naman po maibalik na yung anak ko. Hindi po kasi ako makatulog nang maayos kapag lagi ko siyang naiisip. Ibalik naman po nila yung anak ko. Pakiusap lang, kasi hindi ako sanay na wala yung anak ko dito sa bahay. Isosoli po namin yung pera basta balik po nila yung anak ko,” he appealed.

(My child has been gone for more than eight days, I hope they will return my child. I can't sleep well because I'm thinking about my child. Please bring back my child because I'm not used to not having my child at home. We will return the money as long as they return my child.)

Lawyer and Unang Hirit host Gaby Concepcion said selling a child can be considered child trafficking under the law.

“Pinaampon mo yung bata for a price. In effect, itong pagbenta ng isang bata ito ay isang form ng child trafficking sa ilalim ng batas natin. In fact, sa ilalim ng ating child abuse law nakalagay na ang buy and sell ng isang bata at kung ang bata ay less than 12 years of age ito ay talagang classified as child trafficking,
Concepcion said.

(You had the child adopted for a price. In effect, selling a child is a form of child trafficking under the law. In fact, under our child abuse law it is stated that the buy and sell of a child below 12 years of age is classified as child trafficking.)

“Lahat ay dapat dumaan sa proseso ng adoption. 'Yung parental authority, 'yung natural na authority ng magulang sa kanyang anak hindi yan basta mare-renounce, made-denounce, mata-transfer,” she added.

Concepcion said, "Maraming bata sa mga bahay ampunan, sa mga child caring agency but there is a process that must be followed. A process that you can followed without incurring criminal liability."

Everything must go through the adoption process. The parental authority or the natural authority of the parent to their child, cannot be immediately renounced, denounced or transferred.)

Under the law, those found guilty of child trafficking can be sentenced to life imprisonment and fined with P2 to P5 million. The person responsible for adoption and those who adopted illegally will be both held responsible for the crime. 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said it is investigating the case.—Richa Noriega/LDF, GMA News