'YouTube rectum scandal' victim seeks P6M in damages


Posted at Apr 24 2008 08:22 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2008 04:22 AM

The male patient whose rights were allegedly violated by hospital staff of the government-run Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu sought P6 million in damages over the "YouTube rectum scandal."

The patient, "Danilo" (not his real name), sought P1 million in moral damages and P5 million in exemplary damages after a video of his operation to remove a canister of body spray from his rectum found its way on the popular video-sharing site, YouTube.

The canister was placed in Danilo's rectum by a male commercial sex worker he had picked up. Danilo was dead drunk when it happened.

Danilo’s family is also preparing a writ of habeas data that they will be lodging against the hospital for allegedly refusing to release the documents being sought by the patient.

Danilo earlier filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas regarding the incident.

He claimed that medical staff overseeing the operation laughed at him while they were removing the canister from his rectum on January 3, 2008.

The patient will also file a civil case against the hospital before a regional trial court.

The Department of Health earlier identified the five respondents being investigated for the videotaping of the rectal surgery as VSMMC head surgeon Dr. Philips Leo Arias, assistant surgeon Dr. Angelo Linawagan, surgeon Dr. Max Joseph Montecillo, nursing attendant Rosemarie Villareal and circulating nurse Carmina Sapio.

A homosexual act

For a spokesman of the Catholic Church in Cebu, however, Danilo should instead blame himself rather than the medical staff.

Monsignor Achilles Dakay, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the patient was engaged in a "homosexual act."

"We should also be talking about the wrong that the guy and the gay were doing," he said.

He said that while the Catholic Church sympathizes with the gay community, it does not condone homosexual acts.

Lesbian and gay group Ang Ladlad disagreed with Dakay.

The group said that the Catholic Church should not stray from the "ethical issue" on violation of patient's rights.

"The point here was the violation done on the patient. These doctors and nurses are intelligent people. Something must be done about it," said Danton Remoto, chairman of Ang Ladlad.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez also sided with the patient, saying that the hospital should be held liable for the incident.

"More on the ethics, why were people allowed to watch in the operating room?" he said.

Who uploaded video?

While investigators are hunting down the commercial sex worker who victimized Danilo, they still do not have a clue on who uploaded the video on YouTube.

The regional office of the National Bureau of Investigation, which is overseeing the probe, said it does not have the capability to track down the computer used to upload the video.

They, however, said they will ask the NBI Central Office's Computer Crimes Division whether it can zero in on the host computer. -- ABS-CBN Regional Network News, Cebu