The court yesterday watched 15 seconds of a a video that prosecutors said set off the discovery of a family engaged in cyberpornography in Cordova town in Mactan Island.
The prosecution and Regional Trial Court Judge Toribio Quiwag of Branch 27 in Lapu-Lapu City viewed the brief clip.
Scenes of lewd actions performed by minor-age children allegedly directed by their own parents operating a web camera filled a wide screen but public spectators were not allowed to watch, only the judge and prosecutors.
The compact disc was labled Exhibit “XXX.”
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who testified as the prosecution’s first witness, said the the
CD was given to her by an informant last May.
“After I saw the [contents of the] compact disc (CD), I just could not sleep. I thought it was the worst form of child abuse I had ever seen,” she said.
“You would be very angry, Your Honor. It was repulsive, dirty. I said that only a sick mind could make the children do this.”
Magpale, who co-chairs the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC), was asked to describe the contents of the CD.
She started to describe specific actions involving body parts of the children and a female adult.
At one point she stopped. “I wish I didn’t have to explain what I saw,” she lamented, still affected by the images.
Magapale said she received the CD last May showing goings-on in the house of the accused in barangay Ibabao, Cordova.
She sought the aid of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7), which along with the PWC monitored the couple.
Magpale yesterday testified how she met the children for the first time after the raid in the NBI 7 office.
They looked scared, thin and hungry, she said.
“Since I had breakfast ready for them, I took the little girl, made her sit on my lap and told her I am your friend,” Magpale said.
While five children were eating, Magpale said a little boy stayed in a corner, refusing to eat.
“I went to him and I urged him to eat breakfast. He still refused to eat and he broke down and blurted, ‘Ggiingnan nako sila nga undangon na ni, wala gyud moundang’ (I told them to stop but they did not),” Magpale said. She said the boy was clearly referring to his parents.
In an affidavit, the couple’s eldest 15-year-old son said his parents ordered him and his siblings and cousin to pose nude and perform lewd acts online thrice a week for two years.
Based on the NBI-7 investigation, the couple maintained two Yahoo! accounts to lure their foreign clients for a fee.
The accused parents are being defended by the Public Attorney’s Office.
PAO lawyer Paulito Cabrera opposed the viewing of the CD contents, saying it would violate the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act.
He was overruled. Cabrera left the courtroom, saying he doesn’t want to violate the law but returned after the video was shown.
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Lolita Lomanta said the CD should be viewed in the interest of truth.
“We may be allowed to view the CD to ascertain the truth,” Lomanat said.
During media interviews immediately after their June 1 arrest, the children’s parents first admitted they were engaged in online pornography using their children.
They later denied it and entered a plea of “not guilty” in court.
The children aged 3 to 15 years old are presently under the custody of the DSWD-7.
Another witness will be presented in court when the hearing resumes on Friday. /By Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter