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MICHAELA BALDOS – PH does not have a law punishing revenge porn

In the last 24 hours, Filipino netizens have been fuzzing over a series of private videos allegedly featuring a female student from one of the country’s top universities. The videos were apparently leaked online by the teenager’s former boyfriend.

This appears to be a classic case of revenge pornography. The BBC describes revenge pornography as “the the act of a partner or ex-partner purposefully distributing images or videos of a sexual nature without the other person’s consent.” According to this report, most of the victims are 30 and below, with the youngest one said to be just 11 years old.

In their study titled “Revenge Pornography: Mental Health Implications and Related Legislation,” psychologists Mudasir Kamal and William Newman explained that being victimized by revenge pornography “can result in lifelong mental health consequences for victims, damaged relationships, and social isolation.” Hence, the two scholars noted that a growing number of states in the United States have passed laws that criminalizes the said act.

revenge porn philippines

Revenge pornography is happening even here in the Philippines (Credits: https://www.wearethorn.org/blog/revenge-pornography-story/)

In the Philippines, there is currently no law that specifically punishes those who disseminate revenge pornography even if there are reported incidents of this happening here. However, we do have Republic Act 9995, or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009. 

Section 4.d of the law prohibits anyone from showing or exhibiting “the photo or video coverage or recordings of (sexual acts) or any similar activity through VCD/DVD, Internet, cellular phones, and other similar means or device.” These prohibitions apply even if there is consent from the persons in the video.

In other words, the mere act of uploading sex clips in certain websites is already punishable by law. Street vendors who will sell this video can also be held liable. Violating RA 9995 carries a maximum penalty of 7-year imprisonment and a fine of P500, 000.

Unfortunately, RA 9995 seems to be tough only on paper. The fact remains that no one has been successfully prosecuted for violating the said law. Given the social stigma and shame of being involved in a video scandal, it would be hard to expect an aggrieved party to actually step forward and file a case.

Not to mention the harsh reality that pursuing a case is a very slow and costly process here in the Philippines. Lastly, the National Bureau of Investigation as well as the Philippine National Police has not shown any capability to actually identify those behind the leaking and disseminating of such videos.

 

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