Thursday, May 28, 2009

Katrina Halili and Hayden Kho scandal: being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a prohibited defense under RA 9262

For the past two weeks, the country has been gripped by news stories (print, radio, television, the Web) on the sordid details of the Katrina Halili and Hayden Kho scandal. Someone has accurately described this kind of news coverage and its effect on society as the “tabloidization of Philippine culture.” Even our Senate has jumped into the bandwagon by conducting hearings in “aid of legislation” on this issue. (It was actually Sen. Bong Revilla who started this all.)

Prohibited defense under RA 9262

What’s amazing is that some people like lawyers of the opposing parties, some senators and government officials, people in media, etc. do not know what Republic Act No. 9262 “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” provides. People are discussing the issue of Hayden Kho’s alleged use of drugs at the time the sex videos were made. It seems that this alleged use of illegal drugs is being floated as Hayden Kho’s possible defense against Katrina Halili’s complaints. Some people are discussing habituality and aggravating circumstance in the alleged use of drugs.

Section 27 of RA 9262 expressly provides that “being under the influence of alcohol, any illicit drug, or any other mind-altering substance” is a prohibited defense. Simply stated, any man accused of violating RA 9262 cannot use as a defense that he was under the influence of alcohol or of drugs when he committed the act of violence against the woman.

“Persona non grata” resolutions against Hayden

Some local government units are also jumping onto the bandwagon by passing resolutions declaring Hayden Kho as “persona non grata” in their town or city. Meaning, Hayden is not welcome and cannot set foot in their town or city. (If I remember correctly, a female comedian was recently declared “persona non grata” by the City of Baguio for her insulting remarks against Igorots.)

Haven’t these LGUs been advised about the landmark 1919 ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Villavicencio vs. Lukban? Our local government officials should also read the 1987 Constitution and its provisions on the freedom of mobility.

Do these LGUs really think that they can validly and legally enforce these resolutions against Hayden (or anyone for that matter)? One senator said last night that every town and city in the Philippines should pass these “persona non grata” resolutions against Hayden. Let me use some “argumentum ad absurdum” in discussing this issue. If indeed every town and city passed this kind of a resolution agaunst Hayden, does this mean that he can no linger live in the Philippines?

The only legal way a person can be prohibited from residing in a specific place is when a woman has been convicted in a concubinage case. This is the penalty of destierro imposed on the mistress. Please read my post on “Adultery, concubinage and psychological violence” (look for the link in the sidebar), the comments and my replies to the comments.

Lest I be misunderstood in my discussion about these “persona non grata” resolutions, let me state that I am not condoning in any way Hayden Kho’s actions. I just want to point out some silly, misinformed ideas and legally-defective arguments floating around this sordid Katrina Halili and Hayden Kho scandal.