'Japanese school' staff cry foul over police raid

Posted at 04/02/2014 9:27 PM | Updated as of 04/03/2014 6:18 PM

MANILA - The police claimed they were rescued from alleged cybersex activities ran by Japanese nationals using a school as front, but the supposed victims on Wednesday turned the tables against their rescuers.

The supposed human trafficking victims told state prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that policemen from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, who raided the Kame Hachi Corporation Japanese Learning School in Lingayen, Pangasinan last March 17, actually harassed them.

This was raised by the group, composed of around 30 of the school's instructors, during the preliminary investigation hearing on charges of violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, and RA No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act against Takayuki Umeda, 42; Jyunko Wang, 36; Masahiro Kishigami, 26; and Filipinos Erlinda Tandoc, 40; Leonora Ceralde, 38; Josephine Gille, 34; and Rafael "Raffy" Tandoc, 25.

“They were shouting at us. They were taking videos and kept us locked in the kitchen for four hours,” Christy Bautista, an instructor at Kame Hachi, said.

Bautista claimed that around 80 instructors were "locked up" by the police.

Atty. Nolan R. Evangelista, counsel for the respondents and the alleged trafficking victims, pointed out that footage from the school's CCTV cameras would bare that there was nothing illegal going on.

Evangelista, however, lamented the seizure of the CCTV footage by the raiding team.

Evangelista claimed that a "disgruntled" person, whose application to teach in Kame Hachi was rejected, tipped the police on the alleged "illegal activities" of the school.

“The complainant made up the allegations that she saw a lot of illegal activities. The school rejected her application because she is not qualified," Evangelista said.

The raiding team was represented in the hearing but refused to comment in deference to the ongoing preliminary investigation proceedings.

In their complaint, the police claimed the raid yielded laptop and desktop computers, CPUs, webcams, ATM cards, passports, transaction payments, and a 22-caliber magnum, among others.