Guevarra lauds La Union fiscal for conviction of human trafficker

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) lauded the Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of San Fernando, La Union for convicting a human trafficker.

In a statement over the weekend, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he recommended Assistant City Prosecutor Kaythreene Eunice Aquino for commendation for securing the conviction of Sheryl Lim, who was found “guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Trafficking in Persons”.

In a 13-page decision, the San Fernando City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in La Union declared that “the prosecution was able to prove the presence of all elements of the crime through the testimonies of the victims themselves.”

Republic Act (RA) 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003), amended by RA 10364 in 2012, was used in Lim’s prosecution, penalty and sentence.

Lim was sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of PHP2 million and was also ordered to pay PHP500,000 in moral damages and PHP100,000 as exemplary damages for each of the six victims, including four minors.

Victims Cherry Joy Calunod, Jenny Rose Victorama and the four minors testified that in July 2017 they were recruited by Lim in Zamboanga del Sur to work as entertainers in her videoke bar in San Fernando City.

Lim said that they will work as waitresses and promised good salary and have their food and travel expenses covered.

While en route to La Union, the victims learned that they would not be waitresses but entertainers catering to male customers for sex.

In La Union, the victims were forced to have sex with customers who pay bar fines to Lim. A bar fine would cost PHP1,000 to P1,500 for short time, PHP2,500 for overnight.

On Aug. 8, 2017, the victims were rescued by the police’s Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) operatives. Lim was also arrested in the operation. With reports from Elleazar Batalla, OJT/