MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Women’s group GABRIELA is dismayed over the court’s dismissal of the case filed by actress Katrina Halili against Hayden Kho regarding a sex video scandal, stating that the decision reflects the court’s lack of awareness on the intricacies of violence against women (VAW).
The court junked the case against Kho on violation of the Republic Act 9262 or “The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act.” According to the decision, Halili could not possibly be unaware that she is being videotaped while having sex with Kho.
“Judge Rodolfo Bonifacio threw away the case on the merit of insufficient evidence that Katrina was unaware of the video camera, despite admission of Kho’s camp in many instances that Katrina, indeed, has no knowledge of it. Katrina maintains that she is unaware of the video,” says Obeth Montes, director of GABRIELA’s Health and Services Department.
“This is a very sad reality in our justice system, where the burden lies in the victim to prove that she was violated. Worse, the court’s decision reinforces the culture where the blame is always placed on women. It is very discouraging for victims to seek justice when the courts, their venue for legal remedy, are not sympathetic to them,” says Montes.
“By dismissing the case against Kho, the court is sending the message that it is easy to get away with abusing women. The decision is disturbing especially in the light of the increasing incidence of VAW in the country, including the uploading in the internet of videos or photos of women in private acts,” adds Montes.
“There is still a lot to be done on the fight against VAW. Laws should be strengthened to criminalize acts that are not yet covered by existing provisions. Meanwhile, our courts have yet to learn the intricacies of VAW because the judiciary’s incompetence, if not ignorance, on the issue deals devastating effects on women,” states Montes.
The group expresses its support to Halili and vows to intensify its campaign against all forms of VAW, including the use of videos and other technology to abuse women.
“We fully admire Katrina’s courage. She is right in saying that she is not only fighting for herself, but also for other women,” says Montes.