Press Release
July 3, 2013

Binay bill to highlight victim-perpetrator cyber cases
 ... says online violence more prevalent among personal relationships

To prevent further exploitation of social media, Sen. Nancy S. Binay filed a bill seeking to safeguard victims of online violence from further harm against their perpetrators who could be a close/distant relative, former spouse/partner or an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

According the Binay, most of the cases of online bullying, cyberstalking and other forms of digital harassment are perpetrated by people close to the victims.

On July 1, Binay filed the proposed Electronic Violence Against Women (E-VAW) Law of 2013 which intends to amend and expand the provisions of Republic Act 9262 or commonly known as the Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.

"Being bullied or harassed by a known perpetrator, or someone close to you, has a serious emotional and psychological impact than being hassled by a stranger. Mas masakit sa mga biktima kung kakilala nila ang gumagawa ng mga panliligalig sa kanila," Binay stressed.

While the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (RA 9995) sought to prevent further acts of said nature from permeating the various medium of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the said law failed to address the form of violence brought on victims of such scandals, by reason of their special relationships with their assailants.

"Although the VAWC Law already protects women and children against physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological abuses, it does not include other forms of digital harassment like cyberbullying," Binay said.

The proposed bill seeks to regulate the exploitative and irresponsible use of social media that has become "a mode of disseminating scandals involving both television personalities and private individuals."

"Since the enactment of RA 9262, women and their children have been provided with additional alternatives and protection against abusive conduct and violence. However, the law has not taken into consideration the prevalent and widespread reach of the internet and communication technology," the neophyte senator said.

Binay's proposed bill defined "electronic violence" as any act involving the exploitation of data that "can cause or is likely to cause mental, emotional and psychological distress or suffering to the victim."

This can involve the unauthorized recording, reproduction or distribution of videos showing the victim's private areas; uploading or sharing any form of media with sensitive and indecent content without the victim's consent; harassment through text messaging, electronic or any other multimedia means; cyberstalking, including the hacking of personal accounts on social networking sites and the use of location trackers on cellular devices and the unauthorized use of the victim's identity (pictures, video, voice, name) for distribution that can harm the victim's reputation.

The bill provides that any act causing electronic violence against a woman and her child is punishable by incarceration from six months to six years, while threats causing electronic violence can be punished by incarceration from a month to six months.

Offenders can be penalized up to P300,000.00 but not more than P500,000.00, depending on the gravity of distress caused to the victim. The bill also provides a protection order to prevent further harm and distress to any woman and her child.

"Protecting the welfare of women and children are part of my advocacy and UNA's legislative agenda that I have promised to pursue. This bill is one of the few seeds that I plan to sow to forward the empowerment and protection of women and children," Binay said.

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