News like this makes it so hard to keep your faith in humanity.
The woman in the picture, Liezyl Margallo, is a 23-year-old Filipina arrested for child pornography. By now you’ve probably read the story–or heard a version of it from one of your friends–behind this photo. The reaction of Filipinos to the news has been violent: many called for the reinstatement of capital punishment, and there are those who want her and her partner to be tortured in multiple, gruesome ways. It is understandable why a crime of this gravity drew so much outrage and hate. Here now are the facts you need to know about this case:
- She was not acting alone. Margallo had a live-in partner named Peter Gerard Scully, a 53-year-old Australian who slipped out of Melbourne in 2011 because he was being investigated for defrauding more than $2.68 million from 20 investors in an investment scheme. He came to the country and began his lucrative business of child pornography. Scully has been caught by the NBI in 2015 and has since been imprisoned in Cagayan De Oro.
- They are financed by a global syndicate. NBI authorities said that Scully’s group is financed by a worldwide syndicate with members coming from Brazil, Germany, and the United Kingdom. They are still looking for other possible members involved in the creation of these brutal videos.
- She was arrested once already. Authorities said that Margallo was arrested along with Scully in 2015, and that she confessed that she is part of the Australian’s pornography business. At that time, the NBI did not have an arrest warrant against her so she was let go. She was already in hiding when charges were filed against her. Margallo had 16 pending warrants of arrest in Cagayan de Oro for human trafficking. The NBI finally tracked down Margallo with help from the Australian Federal Police on January 24 in a resort on Malapascua Island and arrested her there.
- Their videos go for US$10,000 per viewer. Scully and Margallo forced children aged no more than 12 years old to appalling sexual acts and tortured them, all the while videotaping the ordeal. The videos were made to cater to those who were willing to pay US$10,000 to watch live-stream videos of children being brutally molested.
- They made the ‘worst video’ of child pornography ever, according to the NBI. Authorities described the video involving a one-year-old girl as the worst video they have ever seen in their years of fighting child pornography. The 1-year-old girl, known in the video as “Daisy”, was naked and hung upside down with her arms and legs drawn apart. She was crying nonstop and was repeatedly whipped with a belt by Margallo. Margallo duct taped the girl’s mouth and then dripped hot wax from a melting candle onto her private parts. The video was so terrible that the head of the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division was reduced to tears after watching it.
- A child has died because of them. These videos has caused the death of one of their victims. The girl was a 12-year-old from Cagayan de Oro entrusted by her guardian to Liezyl, who apparently made promises to take good care of the girl and to send her to school. Instead she was molested and tortured for pornography. According to the authorities, a bolo was inserted in her anus. She died of strangulation and internal bleeding.
- She will be charged with qualified trafficking–a non-bailable offense. Margallo will be charged for violating the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009, the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. The offense falls under qualified trafficking because the victims are minors, which means they will not be able to post bail. Once convicted, Margallo and Scully will face life imprisonment and a fine of P2 million to P5 million.
We will be following this story closely as it unfolds to ensure that justice will be given to the young victims of these gruesome crime.