MANILA, Philippines – Social welfare officials conducted a raid at the Hollywood Theater in Quiapo, Manila on Wednesday following a complaint alleging that the theater is being used as a den for male prostitution.
Authorities caught 37 persons inside the theater, some of whom were naked.
Several others were able to escape through the fire exit.
The social welfare office had been monitoring activities inside the theater days before the raid.
“Parang napaka-liberated ng mga tao kahapon, wala silang pakialam, kahit daanan mo sila OK lang,” said one asset.
The suspects caught inside the theater denied that they were involved in illegal sexual activities inside the movie house.
“Bumibili lang ako ng meryenda dito tapos bigla na lang kami hinuli,” said one suspect.
Another suspect said the theater was the designated meeting place of his friends.
The suspects were released by authorities and were given a stern warning.
“Huwag kayo pupunta sa ganitong lugar, marami kayong pwedeng puntahan na mga sinehan na matitino,” said Jay dela Fuente, chief of Manila City Hall’s social welfare office.
The owner of the theater was not present during the raid, and the theater’s staff refused to divulge information on the owner's whereabouts.
The theater will be closed down tomorrow for violating city ordinance and the fire safety code, as well as failing to comply with safety standards. -- Report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News