City lawyers to probe ‘prostitution’ at KTV bar
CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office will convene a team of lawyers who will investigate the anti-trafficking operation at a KTV bar in Cebu City last Sunday that led to the arrest of two people and the rescue of 28 others, including 11 minors.
City Attorney Rey Gealon said the office will look into the case upon the order of Mayor Edgardo Labella.
“I will convene at team of lawyers to look into the matter and will forward a recommendation, especially on the propriety of the issuance of cease and desist order on the operations of the KTV bar, eventual revocation of its business permit, then its closure, if need be,” Gealon said.
Initial investigation revealed that police had monitored the establishment for weeks after receiving information that it was at the KTV bar that the suspects prostituted the victims.
Labella earlier said he will not hesitate issuing cease and desist order against the establishment if found responsible for the alleged sexual ex-ploitation of people especially including minors.
Gealon said the marching order of Labella is to conduct administrative hearing and notify the owner of the KTV bar.
In a legal opinion, Gealon said there is ample legal basis for Labella, be-ing the mayor, to issue a cease and desist order against a business es-tablishment provided that there is observance of due process require-ments of the notice and hearing.
“There are several laws which give authority to the government, acting through its various agencies and local government units, to quell the evils of child prostitution and human trafficking,” he said.
Gealon cited Section Republic Act 7610 or the “Special Protection of Chil-dren against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act” that authorizes the Department of Social Welfare and Development to immediately cause the closure and display an “off-limits” sign outside an establishment when found to be facilitating and promoting child prostitution and child trafficking.
He also cited Republic Act 10364 or the “Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012” which mandates local government units to monitor and document cases of trafficking in persons in their areas of jurisdiction and effect the cancellation of licenses of establishments.
“The City of Cebu’s Revised Charter further empowers the mayor to re-voke licenses and permits for ‘violation of the conditions upon which they were granted, or if acts prohibited by law or city ordinances are being committed under the protection of such licenses or in the premises in which the business forw which the same have been granted is carried on, or for any other good reasons of general and public interest’,” he said.
However, Gealon said the mayor’s exercise of power to cancel, suspend and revoke licenses and permits must still comply with the due process clause, which requires notice and hearing before the closure of the establishment. — JMD (FREEMAN)