Student's Facebook scandal a test case for voyeurism law in Philippines

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Facebook controversy between a 26-year-old student and a school dean in the Philippines is being eyed as a test case to see how the newly enacted 'cyberboso' law or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 can enforce its teeth on voyeurs.

Partylist Representative Irwin Tieng, the main author of Republic Act 9995, said his group is now helping the student, known only as "Annika," in her legal case against Alexander Rible, a dean in a Metro Manila school, who posted in the social networking site Facebook photos of her in the nude and other compromising poses.

"This is a test case and we hope we can be successful in prosecuting the erring person using the law," Tieng said in a news forum.

Tieng came to the venue of the news forum with the victim and her lawyer, Freidrick Lu, but the victim was did not face the media.

Lu said the relationship between Annika and Rible existed for not less than six months while the former was still enrolled in the school. He said Rible "became vindictive" when Annika broke off from the relationship.

To retaliate, Rible created a Facebook account using the name of Annika's common-law husband and posted her photos there for public viewing. The account has been taken down, but screen grabs were taken that still preserved the photographs.

"You can really see the character of the person who created the account. He even invited the victim's friends in the account so they can access to her photos," Lu said.

Rible is now facing charges for violating Section 4-a of RA 9995, which prohibits taking photos or video of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar act and copying, reproducing, publishing and distributing them.

Lu said they have also filed rape charges against Rible and violation of Anti-Sexual Harassment Act (RA 7877) and Anti-Violation of Women and Children Act (RA 9262).

Rible was freed after posting a 7,000-peso ($161) bail bond.

RA 9995 was enacted into law last year to put a stop to voyeurism using the internet. A number of scandals have been publicized in the past, including the sex video between sexy Filipina actress Kathrina Halili and Dr. Hayden Kho.

A penalty of not less than three years of imprisonment and fine of not less than 100,000 pesos ($2,306) will be meted to those found guilty of violating the law.

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