MANILA, Philippines?Talk of sex, lies, drugs and video tapes, and an unexpected splash of water, made Thursday?s Senate inquiry into the sex video scandal steamier than the foreign film with almost the same title.
The inquiry into the scandal involving cosmetic surgeon Hayden Kho Jr. and actress Katrina Halili became a virtual circus as the ex-lovers faced off and denied each other?s statements in connection with his secret video of their lovemaking.
A sideshow came up when a purportedly enraged policeman-turned-tabloid writer poured bottled water on Kho?s head at the start of the hearing, which ended with senators unearthing the involvement of big-time drug dealing in the scandal.
The inquiry conducted by the Senate committee on youth, women and family relations chaired by Sen. Ana Consuelo ?Jamby? Madrigal started an hour late at 2:40 p.m. because the lawyers of Kho and Halili took time elaborating on their respective positions on whether it should be open to the public.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada argued with Kho?s lawyer Lorna Kapunan that he wanted Kho to testify openly.
Estrada got more annoyed when Madrigal informed the senators of Kapunan?s apparent threat?that she and her client would walk out if the senators insisted on a public hearing.
Kapunan then inquired whether there was a need for the media to be present.
?Whether or not there is media, the law will be made if the Senate so desires,? she said.
Countered Estrada: ?That statement is uncalled for. I never threatened anybody. What kind of threat? I don?t even know you.
?You threatened the committee when you said your group would stage a walkout.?
He also told Kapunan ?not to question the legislation?s intent,? and added that she had ?no right to lecture us.?
?I demand the presence of Kho in this hearing,? Estrada said, drawing loud applause from the packed audience made up of spectators and Senate employees.
In the end, Estrada and Sen. Ramon ?Bong? Revilla Jr. voted to have Kho testify openly.
Kapunan made an apology, and Estrada accepted it.
Eventually, Kho, accompanied by his mother, was brought in.
A few minutes later, Halili, also with her mother, came in.
As she went to take her seat, a man in a red shirt picked up a bottle of water from the table, opened it, and poured it over Kho?s head.
As people stared, a Senate security guard grabbed the man from behind and dragged him outside the room.
?Please arrest that man. Arrest that man,? Madrigal was heard saying.
Kapunan rose and said: ?That?s precisely why we objected to a public hearing.?
She said it was fortunate that her client was only soaked with water. ?It could have been a bullet because of the hatred,? she said.
Kho?s mother wiped his soaked hair and white shirt with a handkerchief. Kho himself was cool.
Halili appeared distraught and close to tears.
Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia told the senators that the man was Abner Afuang, a former policeman who, he said, had ?a media ID.?
It turned out that Afuang is a columnist of the tabloids Hataw and Police Files.
Thursday night, Afuang was taken to the Pasay City prosecutors? office upon the recommendation of the Senate?s legal counsel to face charges for disturbing the hearing.
The hearing eventually proceeded with Halili, 23, tearfully reading a statement on the ordeal she was now facing as a result of the scandal.
Speaking in Filipino, the actress gave thanks for the support that, she said, allowed her to rise from her mistake and the debasement that she had endured from Kho.
She said she was an actress whose job was to provide laughter and fantasy in television and in films, but that she also had a private life like everyone else.
?I loved Hayden,? she said, adding that her youth made it easy for her to be blinded that she would ?own his heart.?
?But like all other relationships that started with a lie, this went nowhere,? she said.
Halili wept even more while saying that she did not know ?each embrace and kiss? she exchanged with Kho was ?scripted.?
?I gave my heart and soul wholly to a man who turned out to be doing his own movie,? she said, adding:
?I was stupid. Instead of a doctor, he was a director.?
Halili also said she had erred in loving Kho and in believing that he loved her back as well.
?He said I was his princess in his second world,? she said. ?I was young; it was easy to make me believe. I am the victim here. Every day I am the victim each time the video is watched.?
She added that even if she were dead, the video would continue to play.
Kho said he met Halili in 2007 at the clinic owned by his girlfriend, Dr. Vicki Belo.
He said he performed liposuction on Halili in August 2007 and that soon after, they became text mates.
This was how Kho narrated the purported turn of events:
They soon became lovers and Halili introduced drugs to him in a tryst they had at a hotel in Ortigas.
Halili gave him two Ecstasy pills. He wanted only one, but she told him it would not be effective.
?This resulted in the first video where I was wearing a bandana and briefs,? Kho said, referring to the video where they were shown dancing to the music of ?Careless Whisper.?
He said he could name the people who bought drugs for Halili.
He claimed that he had been clean since his confinement at Makati Medical Center in December 2008, when he tried to kill himself with a drug overdose.
Halili denied that she had introduced Kho to drugs, or that she was taking drugs herself.
She also denied being aware of the camera when they were having sex.
She said she would undergo a drug test at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday.
Kho said the drugs had come from Halili, and that being a doctor, he knew that ?Ecstasy stays in the blood for eight days, and it will stay for six years in the hair.?
?I challenge Katrina Halili to a drug test,? he declared, and expressed doubt that the PDEA had a facility for testing hair for drugs.
Halili insisted that the issue was about the abuse she had received from Kho.
She said she had been unemployed since February, and had lost endorsement projects.
?I can?t leave my house, and when I see people, I would wonder if they saw the sex video,? she said.
Looking at Kho, who was seated a few seats away, Halili said: ?Ang kapal ng mukha mo. Nakakatingin ka pa ng ganyan (You?re shameless, the way you?re looking at me that way).?
Absent from the hearing was Belo, who was in Europe filming for a TV program.
Her lawyer Adel Tamano represented her.
In an affidavit, Belo admitted that she and Kho had a sex video as well, but that she had consented to it on the condition that he delete it after their viewing.
She also said she and Kho split up and that she had asked his friends Eric Johnston Chua (also a no-show at the hearing) and Herbert ?Bistik? del Rosario to search Kho?s computer for the video.
She said Chua eventually gave her a DVD of the contents of Kho?s computer and found out he had sex videos with Halili and other women.
In anger, she said, she ?destroyed the DVD.?
When asked by senators, Kho said he did not know who had distributed the sex videos.
?But I suspect it?s Eric Chua and Bistik because they had the video,? he said, and apologized for secretly filming the women.
Madrigal and Estrada tried to get Kho to say who was the dealer of the drugs.
Kho refused. He said he had received threats and that he could ?not compromise the safety? of his family.
?This guy really has a lot of connections. I?d rather not comment at this point,? he repeatedly told the senators, who asked if he could tell all in an executive session.
Kho said the senators would just end up being removed from the Senate, but that the life of his family would be put in danger.
At the end of the hearing, Madrigal said she would prepare a preliminary committee report.