Filipino arrested in Australia; CBCP urges early passage of anti-child pornography

MANILA (March 19) – At the heels of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ pushing for an early passage of a bill against child pornography, a 49-year old Filipino man was arrested in Australia for allegedly trying to bring child pornography to Australia, according to a report posted in the Internet.

The suspect was stopped by Customs and Border protection at the Perth International Airport on March 13 after arriving on a flight from Singapore.

According to the West Australian, the child pornography materials were found on an external hard drive and a DVD during routine inspection of his luggage.  He was then arrested, charged and requested to appear at the Perth Magistrate Court on March 27.

Richard Janeckzo, Customs and Border Protection national investigations manager, was quoted in the report as saying “people should be aware of Australia’s strict laws relating to importing and possessing child pornography.”

“Australia has strict laws regarding child pornography and those who attempt to import such materials face very serious consequences,” he said.

The suspect, whose name has not been identified, faces a maximum penalty of $275,000 or a 10-year jail term, or both.

Meanwhile, the CBCP Episcopal Commission Youth executive secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta said it is high time a strict law against those who profit at children’s expense be put in place.

“We’ve been pushing for this long time ago, and it is about time lawmakers take this [the bill] issue seriously,”  he wrote in the CBCP Web site.  But he admitted the CBCP is disappointed because of the delay in passing the bill.

In November 2008, the Senate passed on second reading its version of the anti-child pornography bill.  Garganta said that the lower house of Congress should also do the same.

He urged legislators to have the sense of urgency in discussing and passing the proposed legislation that would disrupt, prosecute and seize the assets of those who profit from child sex crimes.

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