DOJ backs ban on racy billboards
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice is backing a House measure that would prohibit the putting up of billboards deemed to be “obscene” and distracting along major roads.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, however, advised Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte, chair of the committee on public information, to include the Supreme Court’s definition of “obscene” in the bill for clarity and proper implementation of the law.
Almonte had asked De Lima to comment on House Bill No. 1407 titled “An Act prohibiting the public exhibition or display of obscene and/or distractive motion or still pictures along major thoroughfares.” The bill was filed by Northern Samar Rep. Harlin Abayon.
Saying the bill would be timely given the proliferation of billboards that could distract motorists and cause road accidents as well as “damage the morals and values of the public,” De Lima said her office was supportive of the measure.
She suggested the House to include in the measure the Supreme Court’s definition of “obscene” from the case SC v Kottinger. In that case, the high court defined obscenity as “something which is offensive to chastity, decency and delicacy.”
“The test to determine the existence of obscenity is, whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscene, is to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and into whose hands a publication or other article charged as obscene may fall,” De Lima said in her Feb. 4 legal opinion addressed to Almonte.
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