No longer can voyeurs and peeping toms with a penchant for recording what they see claim that no law prohibits their activities. Republic Act No. 9995 is “AN ACT DEFINING AND PENALIZING THE CRIME OF PHOTO AND VIDEO VOYEURISM, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” (July 2009). With the prevalence of cellphone and other small cameras, Congress has seen fit to punish those who violate the privacy of others through these means.
The Prohibited Acts are as follows:
“(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, public (sic) area, buttocks or female breast 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.
The prohibition under paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) shall apply notwithstanding that consent to record or take photo or video coverage of the same was given by such person/s. Any person who violates this provision shall be liable for photo or video voyeurism as defined herein. (Section 4)” [Emphasis supplied]
The act of taking video or photo coverage of sexual acts and of private parts without consent has been made a crime. So is copying, selling, distributing, publishing or broadcasting the same. And this is still punishable even if the ostensible victim has consented to the coverage:
(d) "Photo or video voyeurism" means the act of taking photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity or of capturing an image of the private area of a person or persons without the latter's consent, under circumstances in which such person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy, or the act of selling, copying, reproducing, broadcasting, sharing, showing or exhibiting the photo or video coverage or recordings of such sexual act or similar activity through VCD/DVD, internet, cellular phones and similar means or device without the written consent of the person/s involved, notwithstanding that consent to record or take photo or video coverage of same was given by such person/s.”(Section 3, Definition of Terms) [Emphasis supplied]
Consent to the coverage and written consent to its further distribution or showing is required in order to stay clear of this law. But it is another matter whether consent can be a defense to charges of pornography or indecency. This would be covered by the Revised Penal Code, specifically ARTICLE 201 which covers “Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows.”
There is a reasonable expectation of privacy where a person believes “that he/she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image or a private area of the person was being captured; or circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the person would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place” (Section 3 (f)). Hence, it doesn’t matter whether you go naked in a motel, in your backyard or even a secluded spot in a public area, you may be “covered” (pun intended) by the law. The paparazzi will have to behave accordingly.
A violator faces the “penalty of imprisonment of not less than three (3) years but not more than seven (7) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court xxx.” If the “violator is a juridical person, its license or franchise shall be automatically be deemed revoked and the persons liable shall be the officers thereof including the editor and reporter in the case of print media, and the station manager, editor and broadcaster in the case of a broadcast media. If the offender is a public officer or employee, or a professional, he/she shall be administratively liable. If the offender is an alien, he/she shall be subject to deportation proceedings after serving his/her sentence and payment of fines. (Section 5)”
The only exception is given to peace officers “authorized by a written order of the court, to use the record or any copy thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of the crime of photo or video voyeurism: Provided, That such written order shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he/she may produce, and upon showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that photo or video voyeurism has been committed or is about to be committed, and that the evidence to be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution or prevention of such, crime (Section 6).” Any record, photo or video in violation of the foregoing shall be inadmissible in evidence in any proceeding (Section 7).
The law defines the private area of a person to mean “the naked or undergarment clad genitals, public (sic) area, buttocks or female breast of an individual.” With respect to breasts, it includes “any portion of the female breast.”
It would be interesting to see whether wardrobe malfunctions would be covered by this law. All the elements would still be present, since there would be video coverage of private parts without consent, albeit accidental, and the broadcast of the same.
The law speaks of “any portion of the female breast.” Would a televised shot of a starlet’s cleavage and nothing more be punishable under the law? It would seem so and this renders the statute vulnerable to Constitutional attack for being vague or too broad.
The actual application of this law should not take long in coming. There has been one incident where a man was able to record through his cellphone the intimate acts of a couple in a Manila mall’s comfort room. He thereafter sought ransom in exchange for not posting the video on the net. And a gym instructor was recently apprehended for “filming upskirt videos in a Quezon City supermarket” using his mobile phone.
It looks like you may stop and look, provided you don’t record anything for posterity or notoriety, as the case may be, if you have no wish to run afoul of this law. In fine, this Act says that whatever you get to see is for your eyes only, no one else’s. Yet there is still no escape as you may still be charged with the offense of “unjust vexation” under the Revised Penal Code, the standard complaint against peeping toms.
 All copies thus far on the net use the word “public” when it can be inferred that the correct term is “pubic.”
 ARTICLE 201. Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions, and indecent shows. — The penalty of prision mayor or a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine, shall be imposed upon:
(1) Those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals;
(2) (a) The authors of obscene literature, published with their knowledge in any form; the editors publishing such literature; and the owners/operators of the establishment selling the same;
(b) Those who, in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place, exhibit indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, it being understood that the obscene literature or indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, whether live or in film, which are prescribed by virtue hereof, shall include those which (1) glorify criminals or condone crimes; (2) serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; (3) offend any race or religion; (4) tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and (5) are contrary to law, public order, morals, and good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts;
(3) Those who shall sell, give away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculptures or literature which are offensive to morals. (As amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 960 and 969,
July 24, 1976.)
Fitness instructor arrested for capturing upskirt videos, SPOT – Thu, May 5, 2011 http://ph.news.yahoo.com/fitness-instructor-arrested-capturing-upskirt-videos-081100433.html
 ARTICLE 287. Light coercions. — Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than 75 pesos.
Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging
Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging
from 5 to 200 pesos, or both.