Mail-order-bride Business Common
But Illegal in Philippines

SunStar Daily, 20 April1999

REGIONAL Investigation Chief Carmelo Valmoria arrested yesterday an American national and his Filipina wife for allegedly operating a mail-order-bride business inside a hotel in Barangay Lahug, Cebu city.

Valmoria identified the two as Oscar Pridgen and his wife, Jessie. They are in the custody of the regional intelligence and investigation division.

Police confiscated letters inviting Filipinas to join Philippine Girls Unlimited Publication to meet and marry foreigners.

One letter had the date when the couple was supposed to hold interviews for prospective Filipinas. SPO4 Raul Sabaldan said there were more than 50 women at the hotel's function room last Sunday.

Yesterday, three Caucasian males interviewed 20 women in formal attire at the same place. Valmoria said that is a clear violation of Republic Act 6955, which prohibits the practice of maintaining Filipinas and arranging their marriages to foreigners.

He said offenders can sentenced up to six years and one day to eight years imprisonment.

As for foreigners convicted of this crime, they are immediately deported and banned from re-entering the country. Most of the women who showed up at the "interview" said they were just accompanying a friend, although they also entertained the possibility of being chosen themselves.

A woman in her mid-20's, who works at a Japanese company in Cebu, said she does not mind having a foreign husband as she is tired of Filipinos.

Most of the girls later fled when they noticed that police and the media were covering the activity.

Valmoria said these women can be used as witnesses. However, if they won't do it, his office will get the testimonies of the five undercover policewomen who mingled with the crowd.

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