A child's abduction is one of parents' worst nightmares—more so if it's done by a person whom the family has considered a long-time friend.
People were shocked on Saturday, August 18, when it was reported on ABS-CBN's TV Patrol that a woman named Marlyn Chavez had sold a two-year-old girl for P1,000 (a little over US$23). A concerned citizen named Erlinda Alcala had pretended to be interested in buying the child and then alerted the authorities. Netizens were quick to express their outrage on Twitter, retweeting the links to the video posted on ABS-CBNNews.com along with their commentaries. What really bothered them was Chavez's reaction to getting caught.
As Alcala held the child, she related that Chavez had called her and her husband. Chavez had told them that she was selling a child for a cheap price. She asked them to meet her at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila so they could get the child. "Eh, P1,000 nga lang ang benta dito (She was selling the kid for just a thousand pesos)," said Alcala.
After Alcala got in touch with the authorities, she went off to meet Chavez in Quiapo. Unknown to Chavez, Alcala was accompanied by officials of Barangay 307, Zone 30 and police officers. Once money changed hands and the little girl was handed over to Alcala, Chavez was arrested. The little girl's body was covered covered in bruises. She was also filthy, and hungry.
It was later revealed that Chavez had taken the girl from a couple she knew. The report indicated that the couple, who are based in Quezon City, had known Chavez for a long time and that Chavez had once slept at their home. Renante Acquatan, the child's father, went to the police station to fetch his daughter. He said that they had let Chavez watch over the girl. They did not expect her to take their child and attempt to sell her.
As for Chavez, the TV Patrol report by ABS-CBN newsman Jerome Lantin noted that she appeared "remorseless" and even arrogant. It also seemed that she was holding a grudge against the Acquatans. When asked why she did it, Chavez, with her face devoid of emotion, said, "Basta po pag inagaw ko, pambili ko po ng alak (Once I took the child and sold her, I was going to use the money to buy liquor)." Her next words hinted that she had a grudge against the child family. She quipped: "Basta po, tabla-tabla na lang po (Well, we would have been even)."
The incident is a frightening reminder that most cases of child abuse are indeed done by a person whom the child knows. Though we are all naturally wary of strangers, perhaps parents should also be more cautious about the acquaintances whom they let into their homes and allow to interact with their children.
Yahoo! SHE Asks: Pinoy culture often emphasizes the need to forgive those who have wronged you. So, would you forgive a friend who does this to your child? (Tell us why or why not.)
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