Justice Secretary Leila De Lima expressed outrage over a case involving the production and sale of hard crush videos or “videos that show animals being tortured in different ways by people of different kind” using minors as models as she hailed the conviction of those behind the illegal act.
In a 74-page Decision, the San Fernando City, La Union Regional Trial Court - Branch 30 found spouses Victor Ridon and Chita Dorma Ridon guilty beyond reasonable doubt for three counts of Violation of Sec. 6 of Republic Act (RA) 8485 (Animal Welfare Law) and sentenced each of them to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of two years and a fine of P5,000 for each count.
Judge Alpino Florendo also convicted them for three counts of Violation of Sec. 9 of RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) and meted each of them the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of from four years and two months to nine years and four months for each count.
At the same time, the couple were found guilty for two counts of Violation of Sec 6(a) in relation to Secs. 3(a), (f), and 4(c) and Sec. 10(c) of RA 9208 (Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003) and ordered each of them to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and fine of P4M for each count; and two counts of Sec. 5 (c) in relation to Secs. 6(a) and 10 (b) of the same law and sentenced each of them to suffer the penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a fine of P700,000.
The case reached the DOJ after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia received a complaint through e-mail from PETA USA about the production and sale of hard crush videos in the province of La Union.
In separate Informations filed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, City Prosecutor Gloria Catbagan, Deputy City Prosecutor Irene Corpuz and Prosecution Attorney II Karla Cabel, the spouses were accused of videotaping scantily clad minors in the act of killing and torturing different kinds of animals on various dates.
The court stated that the prosecution was able to present factual evidence which “point to the accused spouses as the perpetrators of these grievous crimes.”
It said “By their own admissions, both accused took active participation in the successful production and sale of the crush videos to interested buyers through the internet.”
De Lima stressed that “RA 9208 makes it unlawful for any person to maintain or hire a person to engage in prostitution or pornography. It becomes qualified when the trafficked person is a child, whose innocence makes her an easy prey for these criminals.”
She said “the conviction of these criminals is a tangible proof of the government’s unwavering commitment to end all forms of human exploitation at all cost.”