School by day, cybersex den by night raided

Posted at 02/18/2014 5:27 AM | Updated as of 02/18/2014 7:13 AM

MANILA – The National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Unit arrested on Monday nine people following a raid at a school in Alabang, Muntinlupa believed to be used in cybersex operations.

Atty. Ronald Aguto of the NBI-Cybercrime Unit said authorities confiscated 50 computer units and external drives containing adult and child pornographic materials, which were being uploaded online by the suspects.

Based on initial investigation, the owner and principal of the Mountaintop Christian Academy identified as Purisima Martinez, said the suspects have been renting two rooms of the school for about eight months, but said she did not know that they were involved in cybersex operations.

She said she knew the suspects rented the rooms for "chatting" from 8 p.m. until the following morning.

"Wala akong alam sa operation nila, ang akin lang yung lugar... Chat ang alam ko, wala siyang camera," she said.

She said a certain Ferdinand Abejon paid for the rooms.

But at the NBI office, Abejon said he is not involved in the cybersex operations and was merely selling e-books.

"Siguro po dapat yung lawyer na lang namin ang sumagot... Kasi wala naman po silang nakitang mga nakahubad, baka nagkaroon lang po ng misunderstanding," he said.

Meanwhile, one of the arrested suspects, identified as Mark Manabat, said they did it for money.

"Nagcha-chat po kami, nagpapanggap po kami na babae. Sa hirap lang po ng buhay, walang trabaho. Allowance lang po," he told NBI agents.

Aguto said the suspects, including Martinez, will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9775 or the law against child pornography.

The NBI is also looking into filing a case for violation of the Expanded Anti-human Trafficking Law against them.

According to Aguto, there were also raids conducted in two other areas. Operatives made arrests and seized equipment used in the cybercrime operations.

Meanwhile, the NBI also discovered that the school has been operating since 2006 without proper accreditation from the Department of Education.

Aguto said they will be coordinating with the DepEd on the school’s status.

The school has been ordered closed pending the results of the investigation. It was not mentioned, however, what action will be taken on the status of the students enrolled in the school.

-- Report from Eric Dastas, DZMM and Jerome Lantin, ABS-CBN News