Press Release
May 22, 2009


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago today said that Dr. Hayden Kho can be prosecuted under Republic Act No. 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (VAWC), for committing "psychological violence" against actress Katrina Halili.

Halili accused Kho of videotaping their sexual encounters without her knowledge and consent. The videos have since surfaced in the internet and copies in DVD format are being peddled in the streets.

Under the VAWC, "psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause the mental or emotional suffering of the victim, such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse, and mental infidelity.

Santiago said that under the law, a person who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with a woman is guilty of committing psychological violence against her through acts causing her mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule, or humiliation.

According to Santiago, if Kho is found guilty by a trial court of committing psychological violence against Halili, he faces from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years imprisonment, and a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P300,000. He must also undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment under the watchful eye of the trial court.

Santiago said Kho cannot escape criminal liability by claiming the defense of insanity. According to media reports, Kho allegedly attempted suicide in the past.

"The Supreme Court has already ruled in countless cases that insanity exists when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act," Santiago explained.

"For the defense of insanity to be persuasive to the court, the accused must be completely deprived of reason or acts without the least discernment, because of a complete absence of the power to discern or total deprivation of the freedom of the will," she explained.

The sex video that leaked in the internet clearly shows that Kho set up the camera, carefully angled it, and positioned Halili so that their act would be caught on tape.

"The whole episode would require intelligence, care, planning, and subterfuge. That is contrary to the definition of insanity as 'total deprivation of freedom of the will,'" Santiago said.

"Before the alleged filming of the video, Dr. Kho was somewhat of a minor celebrity who had been frequently interviewed on national television and seen in public events. In none of his public appearances did he conduct himself in a manner that would suggest insanity," she said.

"The presumption of law is always in favor of sanity. The defense must prove that the accused was insane at the time of the commission of the crime for the accused to be exempted from criminal liability," Santiago said.

The feisty senator, who is a former trial court judge, also said that even those who sell, give away, or exhibit the sex videos are liable under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. They face from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years imprisonment, or a fine ranging from P6,000 to P12,000, or both imprisonment and fine.

Even before this scandal erupted, Santiago already filed a bill to criminalize photo and video voyeurism.

Photo and video voyeurism is the act of capturing an image of the private area of an individual without their consent, and knowingly doing it under circumstances in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Santiago filed Senate Bill No. 1100, or the "Anti-Video Voyeurism Act," last 4 July 2007. Senator Francis "Chiz" G. Escudero's Committee on Justice and Human Rights has already conducted public hearings on the bill, and has submitted to the plenary Committee Report No. 65 last 2 June 2008. The legislative measure is still waiting to be calendared in the Senate plenary session.

Santiago, as principal author of the bill, and Escudero, as chair of the committee that conducted public hearings on the bill, are co-sponsors of the measure.

"Under my bill, it is not even necessary that the photo or video shows the aggrieved person engaging in sexual intercourse," Santiago explained. "As long as a private area of the victim is visible in the photo or video, whoever captured the image without the consent of the victim, or captures the image with his or her consent but broadcasts the image without his or her written permission, is liable under this act."

The bill defines the "private area of the individual" as the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast.

"For the victim, it is obviously very embarrassing and degrading to be photographed or videotaped in a compromised situation. It is a form of invasion of personal privacy," Santiago said.

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