CRIM. CASE NO. 07-0417
Victime / Demandeurs de la première instance
Défendeurs / Répondants de la première instance
Résumé des faits
The witnesses’ versions of what had happened differed. M.G.A.F., as the alleged victim of trafficking in persons, did not testify as she had run away from the shelter that she had been provided after the rescue operation.
In the Court, M.G.A.F.’s step-mother stated that in April 2007 M.G.A.F. had left their house and had not returned back. After receiving information that M.G.A.F. was working as a prostitute (“Guest Relation Officer”), she came to the Philippine National Police in Taguig City to seek their assistance for the rescue of her daughter. She further stated that Beverly Villanueva was the owner of the bar where M.G.A.F. worked.
Two police officers testified that in early May 2007, a professional team from the Intelligence Department of the Southern Police District proceeded to the bar, and the victim was rescued in an undercover operation. Several other girls were found in the bar, without valid working permits.
In his testimony, Beverly’s brother said that he was the manager and cashier of the bar. While he was on holiday in Bacolad, his father took over the management of the bar and allowed M.G.A.F. to stay in the bar upon request of one of the waiters, because she was homeless. Beverly’s brother further stated that Beverly had not controlled the bar as its manager and had not known about M.G.A.F. staying in the bar.
Another defence witness, one of the waiters in the bar, supported the testimony of Beverly’s brother by stating that Beverly had not been aware of the presence of M.G.A.F. in the bar. He further stated that M.G.A.F. had only been helping in the kitchen washing glasses.
Beverly Villanueva herself denied knowing M.G.A.F. She claimed that she had not known that M.G.A.F. had been working in the bar until the day of the undercover operation.
Section 3(a) and 6 of the Republic Act No. 9208
The Court found the defendant’s testimony as unpersuasive and not credible. With regard to the testimony of Beverly’s brother, the Court stated that “alibi is at best a weak defense and easy to fabricate especially between parents, children and relatives and even those not so related. Well settled is the rule that evidence should first be believable and logical before it can be accorded weight. To be given any credence, it must proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, it must be credible in itself as a common experience and observation that mankind can deem probable under the circumstances.” The Court further reminded that there had been five other girls working in the bar without the necessary permit.
CRIM. CASE NO. 07-0417