What laws 'sex video' public viewing may violate

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2016 02:39 AM

Senator Liela de Lima

MANILA – Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte made this comment about an alleged sex video of Senator Leila de Lima: "Susmaryosep. Alam mo every time I view the video, I lose my appetite. Nawawala ang gana ko sa kanya."

The next day, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said once the proper charges are filed before the courts, the DOJ may be constrained to present three sex videos purportedly of De Lima.
 
Dayan, who is married, has been tagged in the Bilibid drug trade, and, at least in two occasions, allegedly received millions in drug payoffs. Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Rafael Ragos, who got appointed to both posts during De Lima's stint at the DOJ, had testified in the congressional probe that he personally delivered millions from Bilibid to De Lima's residence and handed the monies to Dayan in the presence of De Lima. 

"Malaki ang significance [of the videos]. Mag-eexplain ‘yun (The videos will explain) why Ronnie Dayan was powerful, why Ronnie Dayan was able to extract money from the drug lords because an ordinary driver could not do it," Aguirre said.

Day after that, a key administration ally, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and the head of the House panel investigating the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs at the state penitentiary when de Lima was justice secretary, Rep. Rey Umali, both expressed openness and readiness to show the video in the ongoing congressional probe.

Umali said, "For as long as it is germane to the purpose of the resolution, we will see.” 

In fact, Alvarez saw nothing wrong with it. "Well, para sa akin, wala naman sigurong deperensiya na ipanuood ‘yan para malaman ng tao kung totoo o hindi.”

(For me, there is nothing wrong with showing the videos so people could determine whether they are authentic or not.)

Their statements have drawn flak from allies and foes alike from both chambers of Congress.

De Lima's partymates at the Liberal Party, Senators Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino and Kiko Pangilinan released a joint statement citing the laws that may be violated with a public exhibition of the supposed sex video:

- Anti-Voyeurism Law (RA 9995) 
- Anti Wiretapping Law (RA 4200) 
- Revised Penal Code on Crimes against Honor: Slander by Deed, which is by performing an act intended to cast dishonor, disrespect, or contempt upon a person, or Incriminatory machinations which may either be:
 (i) Incriminating an innocent person in the commission of a crime by planting evidence;
(ii) Intriguing against honor by resorting to any scheme, plot, design, but not by direct spoken words, to destroy the reputation of another.
 
Sen. Ping Lacson said it is inappropriate for the House to show the alleged De Lima private videos.

Sen. Pres. Koko Pimentel said on the video: “If they should do a reckless action, be prepared to pay the political price.”

Yet, Alvarez maintained his openness to showing the video, as he stated in a DZMM radio interview: 

“Dapat tandaan natin na hindi naman ito criminal proceedings na ‘yung video tape na ‘yun ay gagamitin natin para i-prosecute ang isang tao. Ito, fact-finding lang po ito, naghahanap lang po tayo ng katotohanan dito. Wala po tayong pino-prosecute na tao. Sa tingin ko naman walang paglabag sa batas."

(We should keep in mind that this is not a criminal proceeding that the video tape will be used to prosecute someone. This is a mere fact-finding proceeding where we are in the search for the truth. We are not prosecuting anyone. I think there is no violation of the law.)

Administration allies in the Makabayan bloc of the Lower House disagreed and maintained that aside from violating human rights, showing the videos adds nothing to the investigation and national discourse. They said the government is better off looking for other evidence.

In a statement, the bloc said, "Showing of the alleged video muddles the issues central to the investigations into the links between government officials and the drug trade. Congressional hearings should focus its probe on the salient pieces of evidence that will point to the involvement of drug lords and government officials in the illegal drug trade with respect to existing laws. No man, woman or child, no matter how justified the case is presented for such proposals, deserve to be subjected to the prospect of one's private affairs exposed."

In a press conference, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Emmy de Jesus said, "Kaugnay nito, opisyal na susulat kami sa Speaker of the House upang pormal na irehistro ang paninindigan na ‘wag ipalabas ang sex video sa darating na October 5 investigation."

(We will write an official letter to the Speaker of the House to formally register our opposition to showing the video this October 5.)
Makabayan added that under no circumstances would it be acceptable to show the video.

This is a view shared by Vice President Leni Robredo. 

"As a former legislator, I fail to see how this will contribute to a substantial discussion of the issues being taken up. It is my earnest hope that all of us in public service, including my former colleagues in the House, do our utmost to maintain a rational and respectful level of discourse, with the same passion that we zealously pursue the truth," Robredo said.

The emergence of the alleged sex video is but the latest in the raging word war between the senator and the administration over the president's bloody war on drugs.