2 women convicted of sex trafficking; life in prison imposed

Published March 25, 2021, 4:52 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Two women have been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of sex trafficking and offering teen-aged girls to sex trade, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced on Thursday, March 25.

 NBI Officer-In-Charge Director Eric B. Distor said that last March 4 the Laguna Family Court Branch 6 (a regional trial court) found Mary Jane P. Mendoza and  Magdalena M. Viray guilty of five counts of qualified trafficking of persons under Republic Act (RA) No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 as amended by RA 10364.

“The court ordered the two accused to suffer life imprisonment for each count, to pay a fine of P2 Million without eligibility for parole, and to pay each private complainants the amount P200,000 as moral damages and P100,000 as exemplary damages,” the NBI said in a statement.

 Distor said the NBI will “tirelessly hunt groups and individuals who are continuously taking advantage and exploiting the weaknesses of our fellow countrymen.”

Mendoza and Viray were arrested on Sept. 26, 2019 during an entrapment operation conducted by the NBI’s Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Division (NBI-AVAWCD). Also arrested with them was their male companion Warren Masacayan.

 During the operation, NBI-AVAWCD agents rescued five females, three of them minors.

The NBI said the court “ordered he acquittal of Warren Masacayan y Reyes for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the latter.”