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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Criminal raps filed vs man selling explicit images, videos of minors online

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed criminal charges against an individual, who was caught selling explicit images and videos of minors online.    

In a six-page resolution issued by Assistant State Prosecutor Agnes Farida Bagafaro-Arellano II on Tuesday, the DOJ found no irregularities in the arrest and the subsequent proceedings conducted on the accused identified as Benjie Ortillano, also known as ‘Bench Ortillano Lee.’   

After finding probable cause, Ortillano was charged with violation of Section 4 (c) of Republic Act (RA) No. 11930 or the “Anti-Online Sexual Abuse of Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act.”   

The law provides that regardless of the consent of the child, it is unlawful for any person to offer, sell, distribute, advertise, promote, export or import such materials online, offline, or a combination of both.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the National Investigation Bureau of Investigation (NBI) National Capital Region (NCR).    

Upon scrutiny of the uncontroverted evidence submitted by the NBI, the DOJ said it found sufficient basis to hold Ortillano liable for the said offenses.    

“The narration and recollection of the arresting officers of the NBI-NCR support the legitimacy of the arrest of respondent Ortillano as the latter was apprehended while in the act of committing the imputed offense,” the DOJ resolution stated.   

In its complaint, the NBI claimed it received intelligence information last March 20, 2024 that Ortillano was providing online buyers with CSAEMs.   

The next day, NBI operatives conducting an “open-source intelligence” were able to identify social media accounts associated with Ortillano, including on Twitter and Facebook, which were found to be promoting explicit content and offering discounts for access to a VIP Telegram Channel.   

The investigation also revealed his involvement in maintaining minor models and facilitating the distribution of illicit materials through his Telegram channel.    

Shockingly, Ortillano openly disclosed the availability of explicit images and videos, which patrons could access for P499 pesos to be sent to a designated GCash account.   

Upon payment, undercover NBI agents received a link from Ortillano, leading to explicit videos, including footage of him engaging in sexual acts with minors.    

The pieces of evidence were used by NBI operatives to secure a warrant to search, seize, and examine computer data from Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 4 of Manila City against Ortillano, whose registered address was at Sta. Rosa-Tarlac Road, Purok 6, Zaragoza Nueva Ecija.   

“This decisive action underscores our unwavering commitment to protecting children from online exploitation. This sends a clear message to perpetrators that justice will prevail, and the law will be enforced to its fullest extent,” DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement.

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