Women solons offended by move to show De Lima ‘sex tape’
Women lawmakers in the House of Representatives opposed the move of Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez to show the alleged sex scandal of Senator Leila De Lima, telling him that as women they are offended by the proposal.
In a statement, the women lawmakers called for “circumspection and sobriety” and asked the House leadership to “exercise sound judgement” and let “interparliamentary courtesy and decency prevail” in the lower House.
“We are now at a juncture where our maturity as an institution is being tested,” the statement read.
The lawmakers said showing the alleged sex video has nothing to do with the House justice committee inquiry into the proliferation of drugs at the Bilibid that allegedly raised campaign funds for De Lima.
They added that showing pornographic material is illegal under the Republic Act 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act, which prohibits the taking and showing of videos of individuals performing sexual acts.
“The plan to show an alleged video of a Senator in the performance of a human act has nothing to do with what the House Committee on Justice is investigating. Furthermore, doing so is clearly illegal,” the statement read.
“We, as lawmakers, must always be reminded of our duty to protect and preserve the law. The House of Representatives, as an institution that crafts and enacts laws, must not be the first to break them,” it added.
The female lawmakers said their sensibilities were offended by the statement of Alvarez that he found nothing improper and illegal in showing the video of De Lima allegedly performing sexual acts.
The lawmaker said the move intend to “shame” and “demean” women because of their gender.
“As women, we take offense in any action that intends to shame and demean us, regardless of being citizens or Senators. Let us not allow this to happen in our House, which has built a strong image as a protector of women’s rights and welfare,” the statement said.
The female lawmakers urged their men counterparts in the House leadership to let truth and justice prevail and put these alongside respecting decency and dignity of women.
“The path towards the truth should not be paved with the dignity of women to be trampled upon,” the statement read.
The statement was signed by 34 congresswomen and 10 congressmen as of Friday afternoon.
In a radio interview on Thursday, Alvarez said there was nothing illegal in his proposal to show the video during the House inquiry on the Bilibid drug trade, especially if it would establish De Lima’s purported affair with her driver Ronnie Dayan, whom inmates alleged was her bagman.
Alvarez also said video should not be blocked as a material evidence if it would show the whole picture of De Lima’s alleged involvement in the drug trade in cahoots with carnapping convict Jaybee Sebastian, who allegedly raised campaign funds for the senator.
“Huwag masyado tayong matakot sa katotohanan (We should not be afraid of the truth),” Alvarez said.
However, the law states that any video prohibited under the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act should not be admissible as evidence in a legislative hearing.
According to Section 7 or “Inadmissibility of Evidence,” any record, photo or video which violates the said law should not be admissible as evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.
The law prohibits the taking of photo or video, as well as copying, selling, distributing, and broadcasting such videos of any person performing sexual acts in the internet, cellphone, VCD (video compact disc)/DVD (digital versatile disc), and other similar means or device.
The law imposes a penalty of three to seven years imprisonment, and a fine of P100,000 to P500,000.
The law, however, does not render it illegal to use the sex video for a civil or criminal investigation or trial for the crime of voyeurism provided that there is a court order./rga
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