FORMAL charges are set to be filed against an overstaying Nigerian and his live-in partner involved in the purchase of an eight-month-old baby allegedly sold by her mother to pay off her “e-sabong” (online cockfighting) debts.
This was after probable cause was established against respondents Ifeanyi Okoro a.k.a Maxwell Bright and Imelda Malibiran.
They will be charged with child trafficking under Republic Act No. 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse Law), kidnapping, and failure to return a minor under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
The transaction’s middle person, Kristine Joyce Esdrelon, and the toddler’s mother Rosemarie Gutierrez, have yet to face charges because they still have to undergo preliminary investigation, the Office of the Prosecutor General said in a statement Tuesday.
Esdrelon and Gutierrez remained at large as of this writing.
“The criminal information for Child Trafficking and Kidnapping and Failure to Return a Minor will be filed at the proper Regional Trial Courts. Meanwhile, Further preliminary investigation will be conducted on 11 and 18 of April 2022,” the statement read.
Okoro and Malibiran were brought for the inquest at the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last week.
The 8-month-old baby was allegedly sold by her mother to pay off her e-sabong debt of P45,000.
But the mother denied that the debt was incurred from online cockfighting and that her debt was only P10,000.
NBI operatives under the Human Trafficking Division rescued the baby in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
The baby is currently in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).