CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Charges have been filed against two Chinese nationals suspected of paying 10 female minors for sex inside a hotel here over the weekend, the National Bureau of Investigation in Region 10 (NBI-10) said Wednesday.
NBI-10 Director Patricio Bernales Jr. said the foreigners are facing cases of child abuse and trafficking in persons for allegedly being with the females--six of them minors--inside the hotel.
Bernales said a joint team of NBI-10 and the Regulatory and Complaint Board (RCB) raided two rooms of a hotel where the Chinese and the girls were found on Sunday.
Authorities identified the foreigners as Shen Zhi Qiang and Li Qi, both in their early 20s, from mainland China.
Based on documents, Bernales said Shen and Li are tourists and are staying at the same hotel where the incident happened.
NBI-10 identified the suspected procurers--or the individuals who arranged the services of the rescued females with the Chinese nationals--as Joseph Uy and Janry Avelino.
Bernales said the NBI is validating the claims of the alleged procurers that they are also minors.
Bernales clarified that the raiding team did not catch the suspects in the act--only that they were caught inside the rooms together with the females.
“No need for the suspects to cooperate (with the NBI) as we will file the cases against them,” Bernales said.
He said NBI-10 has already coordinated with the Bureau of Immigration to ascertain the status of the foreigners.
Assistant City Social Welfare and Development Officer Nida Paña said Wednesday that the rescued girls are undergoing counseling at a city government-run facility here.
Paña said their own investigation showed the girls had already been in the hotel for five days before they were rescued.
Both Bernales and Paña said that the operators of hotels and other accommodations where potential cases of trafficking in persons occur must be held accountable as well.