Press Release
December 5, 2007


Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. urged Optical Media Board (OMB) Chairman Edu Manzano to study his mandate as head of the government's anti-piracy agency and explain fully the altercated raid proceedings on pirated discs last Tuesday instead of diverting the issue to escape responsibility.

"Chairman Manzano has lot of explaining to do and it should start from his last minute backing out from appearing in the raid. He said he was sick. It's absurd that he had a quick recovery," said Revilla, disgusted over Manzano's assertion that his participation in the raid was not properly coordinated.

Revilla also felt slighted on Manzano's insinuation that the senator has no business interfering on the undertakings of OMB.

According to the senator, Manzano should bear in mind that he is the chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Optical Media Board so he has the duty and responsibility to oversee the proper implementation of the Republic Act 9239 or the Optical Media Act of 2003.

"As I said before, I joined the raid because as chairman of the joint congressional oversight committee, we want to know how the law is being enforced. There are the questions that need to be answered when we review the law. For instance, is the law enough to cope up with the development of technology?" he pointed out.

Revilla cited the study released this year by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international association representing the commercial software industry, revealing that losses in piracy went up to US$119 million last year from US$76 million in 2005.

He advised Manzano to review his mandate as OMB chairman. "He must know that there is an oversight committee. Was he embarrassed on the outcome of the operation that's why he is reacting ? I just said I was not satisfied," Revilla said.

He further explained that the oversight committee is mandated to exercise oversight function five years from the enactment of RA 9239. Revilla stressed that his participation was properly coordinated a week earlier and he even talked to Chairman Manzano a day before the operation.

"Chairman Manzano even assured me that he will be there in the raid. He may be preempting an inquiry that is why he said there were mistakes on our part. Apparently there is someone caught with his hand in the cookie jar," he clarified.

The lawmaker also expressed doubt over the changes of raid locations and he dismissed the OMB's reason that the vendors of the pirated discs which were seized earlier that day were the ones who tipped their counterparts in other areas about the raid, thus the leakage in the operation.

"The OMB said vendors in the area next to be raided had already packed their items. But I directed some of our personnel to verify the information. They went to the area and it was business as usual." he added.

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