MANILA, Philippines – Jerrie Arraz pimped young girls to foreign clients, forced them to pose naked for the webcam, fed them to perverts, had sex with them while clients looked on.
On Friday, May 26, a Quezon City (QC) court convicted Arraz for human trafficking, cybersex, and rape, and sentenced him to life in prison.
QC Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 100 Presiding Judge Editha Mina-Aguba also ordered Arraz to pay the complainant, one of his victims, a total of P1.8 million in damages with an annual 6% interest rate until fully paid.
Arraz was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of human trafficking, 3 counts of rape, and one count of cybercrime. He got life imprisonment for his human trafficking and rape convictions. (READ: Human trafficking 101: What trafficking is all about)
This was how the cops got the man they called “demon”: On November 14, 2014, Senior Police Officer 3 Christopher Artuz conducted the entrapment operation against Arraz. Using a foreign asset, a client of Arraz, Artuz was able to listen in when Arraz agreed to bring minor girls to the asset in a hotel in Pasay. There, he heard what the “demon” said.
“Accused boasted that the assets can do anything they want to the girls after intoxicating or drugging them with ‘ajinomoto’; the foreign assets can have sex with the girls at the same time; the girls can perform oral sex with expertise; accused can have sex with the girls while the foreign assets watch,” Judge Mina-Aguba’s 39-page decision said, quoting Artuz’s testimony.
According to Artuz, Arraz also told his clients – the assets – that “what might be ugly to him is beautiful for the foreign assets.” Arraz also asked for money to buy condoms, after which he returned with sexual performance enhancing supplements, chocolates, liquors, and condoms.
That’s when Artuz barged into the room and arrested Arraz.
The complainant, 19 years old at the time of Arraz’s arrest in 2014, came from Surigao del Sur and had followed her 16-year-old sister to Arraz’s residence in QC.
Her sister had been entrusted to Arraz by their parents, according to the testimonies quoted in the decision. They were supposed to be house helps for Arraz.
The complainant first found out that Arraz had been having sex with her minor sister, but that she first kept quiet. In March 2014, or 3 months since moving to live with Arraz, the complainant was exposed to his sex operations.
“He, with force and intimidation, sexually assaulted her, let her perform oral sex on him, had coitus with her, all in front of the laptop…at the other end of the line, the foreigner was watching while fondling his penis,” the decision said, quoting testimonies.
The complainant, after that first incident, “was left in the room weeping.” This was followed by more assaults.
Sold for sex
She was taken to a hotel room in Makati and sold to a foreign client. According to the complainant, Arraz even held her hand and guided it in stroking the crotch of his client. Then he left them to have sex. For the act, she was paid P12,000 by the foreigner but all she got was a pair of sandals.
In another incident in June 2014, she and a minor girl were brought by Arraz to a hotel in Manila while dressed in provocative clothing.
“John (foreign client) had sexual intercourse with her while [Arraz] did the same thing to [the minor girl] and then they changed partners,” the court document said.
When she, or another minor victim, would resist, Arraz would help his foreign clients gain sexual satisfaction as he himself did watching them.
The complainant and her sister were sent away by Arraz in July 2014, and it took the complainant until November to finally ask for help.
“She did not know what to do and where to go,” the court document said. The complainant said that she was never paid for any of the sexual acts she’d been subjected to, nor was she paid for “caring of [Arraz’s] children, doing the laundry and cooking.”
The “children” the complainant referred to were Arraz’s victims.
“That is why she has no money to use in going back to their province and no relatives in Metro Manila to turn to,” said the court.
The complainant’s sister, 16 years old at the time of the arrest, said “she was afraid to go back to her parents as they would learn what happened and what was happening to her.”
Arraz sent the girl to school but on a different name, changing it to carry the surname “Arraz” and even executed an affidavit which attested that he is the girl’s father.
The court document went on to narrate how he undressed his “child” and did lewd acts in front of a web camera with a foreigner watching at the other end. Arraz then had intercourse with her and saw the act through.
He also ordered that the girl take contraceptive pills because some of his clients refused to wear condoms. (READ: American in Cebu gets 12 years for child abuse, but he’s at large)
For Judge Mina-Aguba, there was sufficient basis to convict Arraz for rape.
“This is because from the nature of the offense, the sole evidence that can usually be offered to establish the guilt of the accused is the complainant’s testimony itself. If private complainant was not truthful to her accusation, she would not have opened herself to the rough and tumble of a public trial. Private complainant was certainly not enjoying the prying eyes of those who were listening as she narrated her harrowing experiences,” the judge wrote.
On occasions when Arraz said the victims did not resist having sex with either him or his clients, Judge Mina Aguba said that: “it is established that absence of resistance does not, by itself, ascertain consent.”
Quoting a Supreme Court (SC) decision, Judge Mina-Aguba said “Absence of resistance only implies passivity. It may be a product of one’s will. It may imply consent. However, it may also be the product of force, intimidation, manipulation and other external forces.”
This rape conviction of a lower court comes as the SC acquitted two earlier convicted rapists, both because the victims and their lawyers’ arguments of resistance and non-consent did not satisfy the High Court.
The International Justice Mission (IJM), which helped in the case against Arraz, said that online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) “is an emerging threat.” (READ: For 1st time, PH meets US standards vs trafficking)
“Effective investigation and prosecution is what is needed to win cases like this. Our law enforcement and partners need resources to ensure they are effective in fighting OSEC,” the IJM said in a statement sent to media. – Rappler.com
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