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Philippine News Digest 147

February 6, 2009 · 

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Contents:

  • Australian man Robbie Berry to be extradited from Cambodia over child porn
  • Arroyo offended by sex video scandal
  • Bishop urges passage of anti-cyber crime law

Australian man Robbie Berry to be extradited from Cambodia over child porn
Australian Associated Press
26 May 2009

An Australian man is awaiting extradition in a Cambodian prison after he was arrested on a warrant issued by the Federal Court for child pornography offences he allegedly committed in Queensland.

Police arrested Robbie Neils Berry, 53, in the capital Phnom Penh on Monday after the Australian government issued an urgent provisional arrest request to the Cambodian government, an Attorney-General’s Department statement said.

“Mr Berry is wanted for prosecution in Australia for child pornography offences,” the statement said.

“Australia will now finalise a full extradition request to Cambodia and as this is now a matter for Cambodian authorities, it is not appropriate to comment further.”

Sok Phal, Cambodian Deputy National Police Chief, said Berry appeared before Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday but was not charged with any offences in Cambodia.

“This arrest was made on the request of the Australian government and so far we have not found any evidence that he committed crimes in Cambodia,” he said.

“But we have begun an investigation and will charge him if we find evidence of wrongdoing in Cambodia.”

Sok Kalyan, Cambodian Deputy Chief Prosecutor, said the charges related to child pornography offences allegedly committed in Queensland.

“We do not know when these offences occurred and we do not know for certain when Mr Berry arrived in Cambodia,” he said.

Sok Kalyan said Berry would be detained in a police prison in the capital until the extradition procedures were completed.

Arroyo offended by sex video scandal
Orders intensification of anti-porno drive
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:07:00 05/22/2009
Filed Under: Internet, Crime, Women, Celebrities

MANILA, Philippines‹President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was so appalled by the sex video scandal involving Dr. Hayden Kho with at least two women that she ordered authorities to intensify the campaign against pornography.

“Definitely,” Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said when asked in a regular briefing in Malacañang if Arroyo was offended by it. “Any right-thinking Filipino will be offended by this kind of exploitation.”

Remonde could not say if the President saw the video itself. But amid the furor over it, Arroyo ordered the Optical Media Board and other agencies to step up the campaign against pornography in video form.

“President Arroyo, as you know, is both a woman and a mother, and as a mother, she’s very concerned and very compassionate over some women who have become victims in this issue,” he said.

The sex videos of Kho with actress Katrina Halili and other women have been posted on the Internet, prompting calls for the revocation of Kho’s license and his prosecution.

At the start of the briefing, Remonde conceded that his staff had been entertained by the video, but later sought to downplay this by saying they viewed it for “educational purposes.”

“If there’s anything good that has come out of this Katrina Halili-Hayden Kho video, which was enjoyed even by my staff in the Office of the Press Secretary,” he said, eliciting chuckles, “it highlighted the need for the regulation of the Internet and cyberspace.”

He said that this was a wake-up call for legislators to draft measures to protect the children and youth for sexual exploitation, and “protect public morals” in cyberspace.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he expected to be asked by the media about it, so he viewed the video for “educational reasons.”

Remonde interjected and chuckled: “I think that’s the same reason why my staff viewed it.”

Bello, a former justice secretary, called the video a “desecration of womanhood” and said that Kho should be charged with the crime of pornography.

“I know I would be asked and I had to see the video itself, and found out that there’s desecration of womanhood,” he said.

Bello also believed that the scandal has been “blown out of proportion” by the media. “You are going into a very sacred thing like the body of a woman, you should not break the sanctity of the woman¹s body. The more you expose it, the more you desecrate the woman,” he said.

Remonde, however, defended the media for its coverage of the video scandal.

“I’ve nothing but high respect for the responsibility of Philippine media. I know that there will be excesses committed at times. I know that the media, our media, has its element of self-correction,” he said.

“If ever much attention or much coverage has been given to this issue, it’s only because such a universal and salacious subject as sex is always a very interesting issue. But I agree with Secretary Bello about the sanctity of the feminine form,” he added.

Bishop urges passage of anti-cyber crime law
By Dennis Carcamo Updated May 31, 2009 04:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines today urged Congress to pass an anti-cyber crime law to curb the spread of sex videos in the country.

CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said they also welcome the move to make recording the sex act as a criminal offense against women.

“Whether there is a law coming from the government or not, we know that the sex videos are against morality,” Lagdameo said in an interview with Church-run Radyo Veritas.

Lagdameo was reacting to the recent Senate inquiry into the latest sex video controversy involving Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. And his former girlfriend actress Katrina Halili. The sex video, including several others, was then uploaded on the Web allegedly by Kho’s close associates.

The CBCP head said the government and citizens must work together to stop the ruining of the moral fiber of the nation by such pronographic materials now being spread throudh the Internet.

“We need a vigilant [populace] of the state,” Lagdameo said.

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