Gym ‘scan­dal’: Voyeurs, be­ware

Manila Times - - NEWS - PERSIDA ACOSTA Edi­tor’ s note: Dear PA O is a daily col­umn of the Pub­lic At­tor­ney’ s Of­fice. Ques­tions forChiefA­costa­maybe­sent­todearpao@mani­la­

Dear PAO, I have been a mem­ber of an exclusive gym for a long time. One day, as I was tak­ing a shower in­side a cu­bi­cle in the male shower room, I no­ticed a hand hold­ing a cell­phone on top of the cu­bi­cle wall with its cam­era di­rected to­ward my soap-cov­ered body. I was an­gered at this in­va­sion of my pri­vacy, and I chased af­ter the per­son who took my picture while I was show­er­ing. As soon as se­cu­rity per­son­nel ap­pre­hended the cul­prit (also a mem­ber of the gym), I im­me­di­ately con­fronted the guy and found out, af­ter rum­mag­ing through his cell­phone, that he had been dared by his friends to take nude pic­tures of me that, he said, he had just sent to them. I am afraid that the “scan­dal” will spread. Is there any­thing I can file against the cul­prit? Fed­erico Dear Fed­erico, Based on your nar­ra­tion, you may press crim­i­nal charges against the cul­prit for vi­o­la­tions of Repub­lic Act (RA) 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009. This law not only ex­pressly pro­hibits the tak­ing of a photo or video to cap­ture an im­age of one’s pri­vate area un­der cir­cum­stances in which a per­son has a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion of pri­vacy but also the re­pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion and pub­li­ca­tion of the same photo or video, to wit:

“Sec­tion 4. Pro­hib­ited Acts. - It is hereby pro­hib­ited and de­clared un­law­ful for any per­son:

(a) To take photo or video cov­er­age of a per­son or group of per­sons per­form­ing sex­ual act or any sim­i­lar ac­tiv­ity or to cap­ture an im­age of the pri­vate area of a per­son/s such as the naked or un­der­gar­ment-clad genitals, pu­bic area, but­tocks or fe­male breasIs with­out the con­sent of the per­son/ s in­volved and un­der cir­cum­stances in which the per­son/s has/ have a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion of pri­vacy;

(b) To copy or re­pro­duce, or to cause to be copied or re­pro­duced, such photo or video or record­ing of sex­ual act or any sim­i­lar ac­tiv­ity with or with­out con­sid­er­a­tion;

(c) To sell or dis­trib­ute, or cause to be sold or dis­trib­uted, such photo or video or record­ing of sex­ual act, whether it be the orig­i­nal copy or re­pro­duc­tion thereof; or

(d) To pub­lish or broad­cast, or cause to be pub­lished or broad­cast, whether in print or broad­cast me­dia, or show or ex­hibit the photo or video cov­er­age or record­ings of such sex­ual act or any sim­i­lar ac­tiv­ity through VCD/DVD, In­ter­net, cel­lu­lar phones and other sim­i­lar means or de­vice.”

In your case, you were show­er­ing in your own cu­bi­cle in­side the male shower room where you had a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion of pri­vacy. Clearly, the act of tak­ing your video while be­ing naked in the shower with­out your con­sent con­sti­tutes a crim­i­nal act. In ad­di­tion, the act of re­pro­duc­ing, dis­tribut­ing and/ or pub­lish­ing the same (as shown in Sec­tion 4 (b), (c) and (d) above) con­sti­tutes an­other crim­i­nal act of the cul­prit.

We hope that we were able to en­lighten you on this mat­ter, but we re­it­er­ate that this opin­ion is solely based on the facts you have nar­rated and our ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the same. The opin­ion may vary when facts are changed or fur­ther elab­o­rated.

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