Senators Wednesday supported the enactment of a stronger legislation aimed against Internet sex videos after a Filipino actress sought the help of the Senate in pursuing filing criminal charges against a celebrity doctor.
Actress Katrina Halili Wednesday arrived at the Senate to ask Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for assistance in filing a case against celebrity doctor Hayden Kho for allegedly circulating in the internet their “sex video.”
Halili, accompanied by her lawyers Mamyrlito Tan and Raymond Palad, went to Revilla’s office at around 2 p.m. Members of Revilla’s staff said she started to cry the moment the media men were asked to leave the room.
Dressed in green halter blouse and gray skinny jeans, Halili merely shook her head when asked for any statement regarding her intention to file charges against Kho.
But behind closed doors, Revilla and Halili briefly discussed the circumstances that the actress would encounter regarding her impending legal action against Kho. Afterwards, the senator accompanied the actress to the NBI to file appropriate charges against the doctor.
“Sinimulan ko ito, tatapusin ko,” Revilla told reporters in an interview.
When asked what specific case they would be filing against Kho, Revilla said: “Titingnan pa natin. Abangan n’yo na lang kung ano ang maaari nating isampang kaso laban kay Dr. Kho at sa mga kasabwat niya. Sisikapin natin na mapigilan pa ang pagkalat nito (sex video).”
Revilla said he has assured Halili that he will help her in achieving justice over Kho’s videotaping and presumed spreading of the video.
“I will make sure that Halili will get justice,” he said adding that “The case would be an eye-opener to the country on the proliferation of the so-called sex-scandal videos that is already alarming and not entertaining at all.”
Revilla, in a privilege speech last Tuesday, demanded the Professional Regulation Commission to revoke Kho’s medical license. The NBI has also vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into Kho’s “sex videos.”
“I already talked to NBI Chief Nestor Mantaring over the phone after my privilege speech and he assured me that the NBI will probe the matter,” he said. Revilla also praised Halili for her courage and determination in seeking justice against Kho.
“I really admire Katrina for refusing to be a victim forever. This is no longer Katrina’s fight alone but the fight of all Filipinas against harassment and exploitation,” he said.
Revilla acknowledged the women’s rights group Gabriela and Halili’s lawyers for rallying behind the actress’ cause for justice.
He cited Section 24 of the Republic Act No. 2382 or the Medical Act of 1959 whereby immoral or dishonorable conduct and even insanity are among the grounds for reprimand, suspension or revocation of a doctor’s certificate of registration.
Revilla also pushed for the passage of his Anti- Pornography Bill which seeks to slap stiffer penalties against those who publish, broadcast and exhibit pornographic materials through the use of traditional media, internet, the “cyberspace,” cellular phones and other forms of media.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago also agreed that Halili’s case now raises the need to start a national debate on the free expression and censorship.
“This is a problem that faces Internet providers and users all over the world. Even in the United States they cannot simply prevent predators from preying on very young girls, some of whom have ended up dead. We can actually do it technologically, but we will have to spend a lot of money, and then there would be a great national debate on free expression and censorship,” Santiago said.
Sen. Pilar Juliana Cayetano, meanwhile, called on other women victims of sex scandal videos circulating in the Internet and being peddled like pirated DVD movies in public to file court cases against their violators for causing them emotional and psychological anguish and violation of privacy.
“It is not difficult to understand why most of them decide to remain silent or retreat to ignominy instead of thinking of fighting it out in court because the pain and humiliation they have to go through is unthinkable,” she said.