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Accused applies for state witness - -- NO to Trafficking --

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Accused applies for state witness
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PDF Print E-mail

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Nov 02, 2016 at 08:00 AM

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By GEROME M. DALIPE, November 2, 2016

ONE of the two spa operators, who were indicted for allegedly prostituting 10 women, wants to become a state witness in the human trafficking charges filed against her and her sister.

Ana Cabiles, through her lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo, filed a “very urgent” motion asking the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor to allow her to become a state witness.

She vowed to reveal the alleged illegal activities of her sister, Emelia Tacio Cañada.

In her affidavit, Cabiles said it is her sister, and not her, who owns Beah’s Massage and Spa on F. Ramos St. that was raided by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 last month. She said she works as a field researcher at Firestarter Reaearch Inc.
Cabiles said she is aware that her sister is engaged in prostitution even when the latter was still working in a hotel.

She said Cañada merely dismissed her warnings about the illegal activity.

Cabiles said she was just resting in the spa when the NBI agents conducted an entrapment operation.

“I am innocent. I was arrested because I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

If her motion will be granted, Cabiles asked the prosecutor ‘s office to detain her in the NBI 7 office while the trial is ongoing.
Villagonzalo said Cabiles is qualified to be a state witness since she met the requirements.

Section 17, Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedures states that an accused can be turned into a state witness “if there is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused, the testimony can be substantially corroborated and the accused has not, at any other time, been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.”

Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casino found evidence to charge Cabiles and Cañada for violation of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (Republic Act 9208) as amended by the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Republic Act 10364).

It is a non-bailable offense.

The respondents allegedly conspired to hire women and offer them for prostitution or sexual exploitation.

It was on Oct. 11 when NBI 7 agents conducted a surveillance on Beah’s Massage and Spa.

The agents went to the establishment and posed as customers.

When they arrived there, they paid P500 for a massage.

Cañada then ordered the ladies to prepare for a “show-up,” where they would gather in one area so the customers could choose from among them.

When the NBI 7 agents confirmed the prostitution, they raided the place and arrested Tacio and Cañada.

Authorities also seized three boxes of condoms, marked money, the cashier’s records and several business documents.

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