Two human trafficking suspects detained; three others freed

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/08 August) – Two persons accused of human trafficking were placed behind bars while three others were ordered release for insufficiency of evidence by a court in this southern port city, a police official disclosed Monday.

Ordered detained by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 Judge Jesus Carbon were Edrin Palomania, of Barangay Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, and Estella Feria of Cotabato City, city police director Senior Supt. Edwin de Ocampo, said.

De Ocampo said they are being charged for violation of Republic Act 9208 otherwise known as the Anti-Human Trafficking in Person Act of 2003.

Ordered released for insufficiency of evidence were Cecille Abellas of Cotabato City and retired police Supt. Abelgardian Alih and his wife, Hadja Annia, of this city, De Ocampo added.

The police official said the suspects were arrested Monday last week in Vila Sta. Maria, Barangay Sta. Maria by operatives from the Women and Children Protection Desk and the inter-agency Sea Base Anti-Trafficking Task Force.

He said the operatives rescued 17 victims of human trafficking on the same day that the suspects were arrested.

The victims, most of whom were from Luzon, were rescued several hours after arriving aboard a commercial plane.

De Ocampo said the judge issued the commitment orders for the detention of the suspects for violation of Sections 4(A) and 5(F) of R.A. 9208 docketed as Criminal Case Numbers 25748 and 25749, respectively, and serious illegal detention docketed as Criminal Case Number 25750.

The City Prosecutor’s Office filed the case after the suspects had undergone inquest proceedings, he said.

The court has set a bail bond of P200,000 for CC number 25748 and P150,000 for CC number 25749, while no bail was recommended for CC number 25750, according to De Ocampo.

Palomania and Feria are being detained at the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center, he said. (MindaNews)