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'Senate OK'd bill vs anti-child porn'

MANILA, Philippines - Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday clarified that senators passed the Anti-Child Pornography Act but it was left pending at the House of Representatives.

Zubiri was reacting to The STAR report and editorial titled “Voyeurs,” that the Senate sat on many pending bills that would have penalized video and image voyeurism and strengthen laws against pornography.

Other bills that would have covered the sex video scandal involving cosmetic surgeon Hayden Kho and actress Katrina Halili have also not been passed, the editorial said.

Zubiri instead blamed congressmen’s inaction for the non-passage of Senate Bill No. 2317 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

“While the Senate approved the measure, it is now pending at the House of Representatives and unfortunately the delay is with them,” Zubiri said.

He stressed that senators were “sensitive to women and children’s welfare and issues which are our utmost priority.”

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He said the Anti-Child Pornography Act was one of the first bills approved by the Senate on Nov. 24 last year, under the leadership of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Zubiri also said the Senate had approved the Magna Carta for Women months ahead of the House.

The Senate acted on the Magna Carta for Women “with arduousness to finally set the standards on how women should be treated.” Zubiri said.

The Magna Carta will also provide enabling mechanism for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The measure was sponsored by Sen. Jamby Madrigal in the Senate and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza in the House.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has also filed an anti-photo and image voyeurism law to protect people, particularly women, from unscrupulous individuals even before the Kho-Halili scandal broke out.

Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. was also pushing for the passage of his SB 12 or the Anti-Pornography Act that would punish the publication, broadcasting and exhibition of pornographic materials.

Zubiri said their efforts show that the Senate prioritizes bills that would uphold and protect women’s welfare.

Meanwhile, Revilla said Kho’s apology was not enough to save him from the mess that he created. Kho had apologized and appealed to the public to “condemn the sin but not the sinner,” meaning his act and not him.

“It’s the sin we are condemning but obviously we cannot let the sinner go scot-free. He should not wash his hands off what he has done, as if his sorry is supposed to make everything okay,” Revilla said.

“He destroyed a lot of lives and should be punished. He was fearless when he filmed his unsuspecting victims and must face the consequence in the same manner. There can only be justice if the perpetrator is made to pay. This is essential in a civilized society,” he added.

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