I will not comment on who is right or wrong since Mon Tulfo is a colleague at the Philippine Inquirer and the godfather of my daughter Ashia. I will reserve comment until I get to read the police investigation report.
Instead, I am posting a speech I wrote for Buhay Party List Rep. Irwin Tieng in 2009 when we were pushing the passage of the "Cyber-Boso Bill" to fight the rise of “sex scandals” that ended up sold in CDs and posted in the social networking sites.
The bill we fought so hard to pass finally became a law known as Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (RA 9995) in 2010. Cases of sex scandals drastically reduced since then, unfortunately they did not stop and Tieng's office continues to receive some complaints from victims of such shameless act.
Thus, I am posting this 2009 speech I wrote for my client to continue to remind you folks about the need for us to be careful with our actions because modern technology is making us all live under the camera/ video glare no matter how ordinary our lives are. One foolish mistake caught on camera or video and posted in the Internet and picked up by media is enough to make us instant celebrities or destroy our reputations for life.
Destruction of Reputation, Privacy, Future Just a Click Away
Reputation, that for which many die to protect, is now just a click away from destruction. Our privacy, which keeps our individuality and sanity intact, is now just a blue-tooth beam away from obliteration. Our future, the vast expanse of space for us to conquer, is now just 2.5 mega pixels away from permanent shame and scandal.
Looking at your young, vibrant – and yes – beautiful faces today gives me a sense of foreboding for your future in the hands of click-happy maniacs who will misuse technology to expose your very private person and intimate moments to the whole world via the internet.
At the same time, your presence here today inspires me even more to continue my fight against the wanton use of technology – especially the now very ubiquitous mobile phones – to capture and spread people’s private sexual acts or their physical private parts.
Yes, by now most of you – especially the boys here – have seen, exchanged through blue-tooth, infra-red or emails the now very common sex scandal or video scandal flicks. We even got reports that now, you no longer have to buy pirated CDs or DVDs from Quiapo, but you can just have people there beam into your mobile phone sex video flicks for a price.
Although a criminal act, what is lamentable is that this form of technological abuse is now very pervasive and people find it ``normal’’ and acceptable. People are no longer offended or find the showing of sexual acts of girls as young as their kids or sisters making love revolting. Many even look forward to buying new pirated disc showing newer sets of victims who grow younger by the month.
Alas, the showing of such video scandal is as common and acceptable as the singing of videokes. The playing of sex video scandals has become part of the things that man do when they get together for a drink.
Local actresses even cause the spread of such indecent film clips to boost their careers. Unfortunately, many of them get away with such publicity gimmick without anyone getting jailed or anybody bothering to seek justice. This is now accepted as part of life here in the Philippines.
But is it? Should we allow it to go on like this?
My answer there is “No!”
It is for this reason that I have filed a bill criminalizing the recording of ``private act or acts and other violations of the privacy of an individual’’ by means of mobile phones or video cameras.
House Bill 4315, entitled ``An Act To Prohibit and Penalize the Recording of Private Act or Acts and Other Provisions of the Privacy of An Individual, And for Other Purposes”, sets a penalty of up to six years imprisonment and a fine of up to P500,000 for those doing peep-show clips or those engaging in audio-visual kiss-and-tell.
This bill, which I co-authored, Buhay Party-List Reps. Rene M. Velarde and Ma. Carissa O. Coscolluela -- also penalizes those in possession of such offensive ``video tape, disc record’’ and ``replay’’ or ``share, relay or exhibit the contents thereof in any form.’’
Under the bill, ``consent’’ of one or both parties involved in the sexual act cannot be used as valid ground or excuse for the taking or showing of the obscene film clip.
In my bill’s explanatory note, I have expressed disgust over the fact that ``these recordings are caused by or with authority of lovers or partners. Whether it is triggered by a lover’s revenge or just cheap publicity stunt, the same is against morality and ethics.’’
My bill penalizes the ``mere act of recording or any attempt of recording the private act or acts, including but not limited to sexual act, and other violations of the privacy of an individual which would cause public ridicule, without consent of the parties…’’
In my bill, I have stressed that this kind of immoral act ``is considered the highest form of invasion to the privacy of the offended party. Such violation is condemnable and needs to be penalized in its highest degree.’’
My bill, now commonly known as the “Anti-Cyber Boso” was approved by the House of Representative’s committee on Justice on Feb 3, 2008. This will be scheduled for 2nd reading at the plenary hall of Congress.
I am happy to report that my colleagues in Congress are quite supportive of this bill, with many of them offering to co-author this significant and timely measure.
Thus, as I face your beautiful faces today, I will not only impart to you the important facets of the bill but also pick out your brilliant minds on how we your representatives in Congress can improve on this measure.
We will be happy to get inputs and suggestions from you because you are clearly more techno-savvy than many of us in Congress. Verily, the future of technology – good or bad – rests in your hands.
It just ironical that the technology that is connecting Filipinos is also the same technology that is robbing the innocence and debasing our youth who are being exposed as sex objects via mobile phones.
So today, I ask you to join me in my crusade to stop the abuse of technology and preserve our individual reputation, privacy and future from those out to destroy it with one merciless and reckless click.