Dwinellses charged with human trafficking, child abuse

Dwinells

The Dwinells couple were placed under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation after a raid at their two-story house which operated as an orphanage in Legones St. brgy. Bool, Tagbilaran City.

Charges were filed at the Tagbilaran City Prosecutor’s Office on Monday against Matthew and Dalisay Dwinells for allegedly housing minors at an orphanage and transporting them to Bohol from Cebu and Leyte without permits.

Prosecutor Julius Ceasar found probable cause to hold the Dwinells couple for trial for violating the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

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The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) after the two were arrested on Saturday by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents.

Preliminary investigation of charges will start on Thursday as set during today’s inquest which was attended by the party of the accused and local and national officials of the DSWD.

According to NBI Bohol executive officer Atty. Arcelito Albao, some of the 38 rescued children who were under the Dwinellses’ custody through Street Kids Mission Philippines are below the age of 12.

Albao said that taking in a child below said age without permit or consent from the minor’s family qualifies as child abuse.

The Dwinells categorically denied allegations as they pointed out that they have properly taken care of the children which included 28 minors and ten others aged 18 to 20.

She also refuted human trafficking allegations as she noted that they have not been shipping away orphans in exchange for money.

Dalisay said that they even enrolled the children in various schools in Bohol and that required permits are currently under processing.

Officials of the DSWD made an assurance that the rescued children will continue attending classes pending the investigation.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor ordered the release of the Dwinellses’ driver Roslim Zuñiga who was also arrested during the NBI’s raid at the alleged illegal orphanage in Legones St., Barangay Bool, Tagbilaran City. (Rey Tutas)

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