The person/persons responsible for disseminating the video in the cyberspace can be held liable for violating Section 4 of Republic Act 9995, or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009. The bill gained momentum at the height of the controversy regarding the sex videos of Hayden Kho with different women (Katrina Halili, Maricar Reyes, among others).
Section 4.d 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. Curiously, the bill does not prohibit individuals from taking videos of themselves while having sex as long as it remains private (see Section 3.d and 4.a and b).
Technically, the mere uploading of this one-minute sex clip in websites is 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.
Any media outlet that airs this clip or publishes screen shots from the video can have their license to operate or franchise revoked. The law sounds strict, but it is almost impossible to implement thoroughly. Using the Ram Revilla-Janelle Manahan sex video, here are some questions I have in mind:
1. Where did this video come from (i.e. Ram’s laptop)? Who copied it from that source?
2. Who uploaded it to the Internet?
3. Who are those who reposted/re-uploaded the video in other websites?
Pinpointing the persons behind the aforementioned acts is a near-impossible task for our authorities. First, the Revilla clan seems not to be cooperative – even though they should feel violated because a murdered kin is involved in the video. Second, how are they going to find out the person who did the initial uploading of the video online? Third, how can they track the online users (all of them!) who reposted the video in other websites?
If a concrete case can emerge from the proliferation of the Ram Revilla-Janelle Manahan sex video, then it can be the first real test of the strength and worthiness of the Philippine Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act.