Lilibeth Oligo, also known as “Ate Joan”, was caught red-handed by a cop posing as a customer in August 2016. She offered the “sexual services” of four females, including the minor, for 1,000 pesos each.
Oligo had pleaded not guilty, saying she had merely been invited to go on a “drinking spree” by a friend at about the time of her arrest.
She claimed that while she was travelling to meet her friend, the vehicle she was riding on was blocked by another vehicle. She said that she was shocked and surprised when men and women got out and presented themselves as police officers and arrested her.
However, the court ruled in favour of the prosecution, ruling that she was engaged in sexual exploitation of her four victims in exchange for financial gain. She was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified trafficking in persons, as defined under the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.
“The court finds no reason to doubt the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. Their statements were consistent all throughout and supported by evidence,” the resolution said.
Furthermore, one the victims also testified that she and the three others “had long been pimped by the accused”.
This victim, a 29-year-old woman, “also testified that despite knowing the accused as a pimp, she agreed to work with her because she needed the money to feed her children”.
“Clearly, accused took advantage of AAA as one who needed money. Also, the consent of AAA to engage in sexual act with customers referred to her by the accused for a fee does not absolve the accused of liability. As defined under Section 3(a) of RA 10364 as amended, trafficking in persons can still be committed even if the victim gives consent,” the resolution said.
Tragically, the 15-year-old victim was discovered to have committed suicide at a nonprofit organisation’s shelter less than three months after Oligo’s arrest.
Apart from the life sentence, Oligo was ordered to pay a fine of two million pesos and hand over to each of her three victims and the heirs of the minor 500,000 and 100,000 pesos in moral and exemplary damages, respectively.
The conviction is only the latest life sentence handed out to Filipina pimps. In January, we reported that Ilonah Jean Ramos of Taguig was found guilty of trafficking girls as young as 12 following an entrapment operation assisted by the International Justice Mission.
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