School teacher nabbed for child pornography

A SCHOOL teacher from San Carlos City was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Thursday for allegedly uploading child pornography materials to his friends and other persons.

Atty. Dante Bonoan, NBI chief in Dagupan City, identified the arrested suspect as Wilfredo Ballesteros Jr. at whose house in San Carlos City NBI agents served a search warrant on Thursday.

The warrant, said Bonoan, was issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in San Carlos City.

Seized by the NBI from Ballesteros’ house were laptops, cellphones, hard drive and flash drives containing alleged pornographic child materials and internet memory stick.

Bonoan did not disclose where Ballesteros teaches to protect the reputation of the school.

However, Ballesteros was released on the same day of his arrest as the charge against him might be dismissed due to some legal technicalities involving seizure of the pornographic materials. He said they have to wait for the findings of the DOJ after examining the contents of the materials seized from the suspect, Bonoan said.

This will be done through forensic examination, he said.

It was the Cybercrime Office of the Department of Justice in Manila that directed the NBI in Dagupan to find Ballesteros who was earlier complained to be distributing child pornography materials.

Bonoan said Ballesteros may have long been under surveillance for uploading child pornography materials to certain people, including his friends.

He said uploading pornography materials is a crime.

The administrative aspect of the case to be filed against Ballesteros who is a teacher will be the responsibility of the Department of Education, he added.

“What I want to emphasize is, some are arrested because they are not aware that even mere possession or private use of child pornographic materials is punishable under the law. This should serve as a wake-up call,” he said.

He said the Anti-Cyber Crime Office of the DOJ is capable of tracking down downloaded child pornographic materials by an Internet user.

The mere fact that Ballesteros has in his possession pornographic materials is a crime, he added.

He said there is a heavier penalty for distributors of pornographic materials even if the recipients of the same are mere friends of the distributors.

“Since the suspect is a school teacher, we would like to find out if those in the pornographic materials were his students or had abused any of them.”

The NBI is still investigating the materials seized from Ballesteros before filing a case for violation of the anti-child pornography law, in relation to the anti-crime cyber law.

Bonoan said the highest penalty for this crime is life imprisonment. (Leonardo Micua/ Eva Visperas)