Everything has totally gone out of hand.
What is Voyeurism?
Wikipedia defines voyeurism as "the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other activity usually considered to be of a private nature."
Are laws already in place against cyber voyeurism here in the Philippines? The lawmakers say not yet but other laws on crimes against women can be used in the meantime to combat these cyber exploits. According to Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Obscene Exhibition and Grave Scandal may be used to prosecute Kho in this case but added that these are not specific on cyber crimes.
In a TV interview over GMA 7, Senator Santiago said she has passed a Bill on Cybernet Peeking but is yet to go on a third reading. If passed into law, it would punish violators from one to five years of imprisonment and P10,000-P50,000 fine. Santiago's 2-page Bill on Cybernet Peeking specifies two crimes: 1) capturing on photos and/or videos the sexual act without the partner's consent and 2)broadcasting these publicly without the consent of the aggrieved party (even if he/she consented to record the act for private viewing).
The lower house of Congress has a counterpart Bill called Anti-Video Voyeurism Act authored by Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella.
Erik Chua: The man who uploaded the videos?
Yesterday, Erik Johnson Chua, the primary suspect in uploading the compilation of videos on the internet, denied the allegations hurled against him. He claimed no participation in the proliferation of the said sex videos. Chua, a businessman, is believed to be one of the four persons who knew about the videos. The other two who were privy to the videos are famous cosmetics surgeon Dr. Vicky Belo and another common friend known only as Bistek Rosario. Chua was a close friend of Kho but the two had a falling out for reasons that Kho allegedly triggered. There are said to be about 40 different sex videos of Kho with various women but Halili's is the most controversial (Halili being a famous actress and twice voted by FHM as the Pihilippines' sexiest woman in 2006 and 2007).
Squid tactics and alibis
In a desperate move to justify Kho's actions, Kho's camp issued a statement that the videos were taken when the doctor was in drugs, a few months before he took treatments (So, they're blaming drugs now). Yesterday, Kho's mother alleged that it was Katrina Halili who introduced and supplied (prohibited) drugs to her son (Ooh, so now they're blaming the victim). Remind me again, Hayden Kho is a professional doctor right? Would you believe a doctor would be dissuaded by a 23-year old woman to ruin his health AND life by taking drugs? I wouldn't.
So, okay, Kho's camp is implying that the doctor was not in his proper state of mind when these videotapings happened. Will this declaration justify his actions? No. Sen. Miriam Santiago laughed and said it will be an aggravating evidence to Hayden's case. Wrong move!
The Senate is scheduled to conduct its investigation on the matter this Thursday, May 28. The Senate inquiry was fueled by Sen. Bong Revilla's privilege speech "A Doctor's Perversity" in which he lambasted Kho for videotaping his sexual encounters with various women, including Katrina Halili, without their knowledge and consent. The spreading of the video on the internet has prompted the Senate to look into the country's lack of cyber laws. Women's rights activitists have rallied behind Halili and condemn cyber exploitation of women.
This latest surge of cyber voyeurism is not the first in the Philippines. A lot of nameless women have fallen victims to this kind of exploitation in the past but sadly, our lawmakers just sat on it. Some victims were forced to migrate out of the country, some almost took their own lives, many of them were ruined and separated from their families. All of them scarred forever.
What's keeping these products-of-sick-minds going is, admit it or not, the Filipinos' curiosity over sex scandals. DVD pirates won't keep on selling these scandal videos if there are no demands. How many of your friends have seen a sex scandal in the past, if not this one involving Katrina and Hayden? How many people you know have asked about Katrina's video, searched
it on the net and viewed it? How many are still curious to watch it?
Watching the video and sharing it with others only add up to the victims' anxiety and anguish. It won't do anything to close the case under the rule of law unless you're part of the prosecution, the defense, or if you're the judge handling the case. It will only quench one's curiosity. But now what? We're actually patronizing these sick videos. We're feasting on the victims' disgrace.
If the victim happened to be our sister or a close friend or relative, how would we feel seeing the video being viewed by other people over and over?
If there's a demand, there will be supply.
DVD copies have reportedly reached Cebu City and are being sold by video pirates discreetly for fear of police crackdown. Same thing is happening in Quiapo after police raided DVD stalls last week. The discs, which were sold at P60 each in Quiapo, has increased to P150-200 per copy after the raid.
If there's any good thing that this Hayden-Katrina scam is doing, it is that our lawmakers have been ignited to act on our cyber law (or the lack of it). This will hopefully eradicate cyber voyeurism and protect our women from falling prey to these crimes again. Enough is enough.
Hey, this is a perfect opportunity for our politicians who want to earn "pogi" points in the 2010 elections. But that's another story.