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Belo's lawyer bares P4-million extort try

Belo

MANILA, Philippines - A lawyer representing cosmetic surgeon Vicki Belo yesterday revealed efforts to blackmail her and former lover Dr. Hayden Kho over another sex video.

According to Adel Tamano, a group is demanding P4 million from Belo and Kho for not releasing their sex video to the public.

Tamano confirmed Kho made a video of their sexual moments but the two have agreed it was only for their private viewing.

In an interview with “Startalk” on GMA-7 television yesterday, Tamano suggested that the video was among those retrieved from Kho’s computer.

Tamano accused Eric Chua, a mutual friend of Belo and Kho, and another person he did not identify of allegedly making copies of the sex videos, including the now controversial one with actress-model Katrina Halili.

Tamano though did not say if Chua was part of the group that tried to blackmail Belo and Kho.

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“There are extortion attempts, demanding P4 million from Dr. Belo and Kho or the video would be released to the public. We have suspects and we are studying our legal options. Dr. Belo did not heed the extortion demand because she is not sure that after paying it will not be released to the public,” Tamano said.

Kho’s lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, also accused Chua of stealing the racy videos from Kho’s computer.

Kapunan alleged Chua had access to Kho’s laptop and made copies of the videos showing her client’s sexual escapades with Halili and several other women.

She said the sex video of Kho and Halili was not recent.

“This did not just happen a week ago. It happened about a year ago or more than a year ago,” she said.

Kapunan said that Chua, known for his computer skills, was the person who allegedly uploaded the video on the Internet.

Kapunan said when Kho and Belo broke up some two years ago, Belo asked Chua to get Kho’s computer and retrieve the videos from the hard drive.

Kapunan stressed Belo merely wanted to erase sexual encounters with Kho.

But Belo, according to Kapunan, was told by Chua that he gave the task of retrieving the videos to another computer technician.

Kapunan also clarified that her client was not even aware that his computer was taken from his home.

Chua then reportedly brought the computer to Kho’s home after retrieving the pictures and videos of Belo, she said.

Kapunan said the files in Kho’s computer had a complicated encrypting system, making it difficult to access.

This prompted Belo to ask Chua, whom she trusted, to retrieve the files.

Belo and Kho had known Chua as a colleague in the medical profession as well as a computer expert.

Chua is said to be connected with GigaHertz Computer Systems, a firm in Quiapo, Manila specializing in photo and video files on computers.

Kapunan said Belo took the opportunity to retrieve the video files when Kho was undergoing rehabilitation.

She said she believed that Chua allegedly made a copy of the sex videos.

Tamano, meanwhile, said Belo cannot be blamed for her effort to retrieve the racy videos.

“The biggest victim here is Dr. Belo. She and Hayden had a consensual agreement. The video was taken, but they agreed that after watching it they would delete it. I think she felt there is a breach of agreement,” Tamano said.

Tamano denied insinuations that Belo had the motivation to upload the Kho-Halili video on the Internet to get even with her former lover.

Belo reportedly broke up with Kho after learning of the affair with Halili. Tamano though maintained Belo and Kho had remained friends after the affair.

Tamano stressed Belo does not have a copy of the Halili-Kho sex video.

Damage control measures

Tamano also appealed to the public not to patronize the privately taken sex videos and think of the women shown in them as their parents, sisters and wives.

“We appeal to the public to pity the women, instead of patronizing these sex videos. Just think of your mothers, sisters and wives. Dr. Belo also sympathizes with the other victims,” he said.

Kapunan, on the other hand, said Kho was already served a subpoena by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regarding the complaint filed by Halili.

Kapunan said her client would appear on Wednesday before the NBI to give his side of the story.

She also said they would allow Optical Media Board (OMB) Chairman Edu Manzano to handle the investigation on the pornography case.

Kapunan said Kho had personally apologized to Halili.

Halili charged Kho with psychological violence under the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.

Kho also voluntarily suspended his medical practice after Halili filed a separate complaint against him before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Kapunan said Kho had admitted his guilt in making the sex videos but denied uploading them on the Internet for public viewing and distribution.

She said Kho made the sex videos apparently while under the influence of drugs, before he started undergoing counseling last December.

Kho was already recovering from his drug addiction when the scandal broke out, Kapunan said.

Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, on the other hand, said they are willing to offer Halili therapy following her psychological ordeal on the sex video scandal.

“It would depend on Katrina Halili if she needs our help or if she needs someone to talk to, she could coordinate with our office,” Cabral said. – With Sandy Araneta and Evelyn Macairan

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