Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Right To Privacy In Rape Cases

For those who've been following closely the Subic Bay Rape Case, please read this excerpt from Republic Act 8505, which was mentioned tonight on ABSCBN's Media In Focus tv show with Cheche Lazaro by the lawyers Evalyn Ursua and Katrina Legarda:
Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998.

Section 5. Protective Measures. - At any stage of the investigation, prosecution and trial of a complaint for rape, the police officer, the prosecutor, the court and its officers, as well as the parties to the complaint shall recognize the right to privacy of the offended party and the accused. Towards this end, the police officer, prosecutor, or the court to whom the complaint has been referred may, whenever necessary to ensure fair and impartial proceedings, and after considering all circumstances for the best interest of the parties, order a closed-door investigation, prosecution or trial and that the name and personal circumstances of the offended party and/or the accused, or any other information tending to establish their identities, and such circumstances or information on the complaint shall not be disclosed to the public.
Most disingenuously and dishonestly neither of the two Lady Lawyers bothered to mention this entirely fair and reasonable parity of rights to privacy of BOTH the "offended party" and of the "accused."

Imagine indeed that Party A is accused of raping Party B. Until trial and appeals processes are exhausted we, the public, cannot really presume to know whether the accused is guilty or not, nor whether the accuser is telling the truth or not. Therefore it only stands to reason and the essential sense of fairness that the privacy of BOTH parties out to be kept out of the public domain.

RA 8505 explicitly demands it as the solemn duty and responsibility of "the police officer, the prosecutor, the court and its officers, as well as the parties to the complaints".

The outrageous thing about Ursua's and Legarda's statements that were broadcast tonight was their accusation against the Philippine Daily Inquirer (and "anyone else who published the full real name and pictures of Nicole") -- that they had criminally violated this law, RA 8505 and three other similar laws, in their March 18 report on the recantation affidavit of Nicole. Yet is it not crystal clear that the principal obligation to maintain privacy of BOTH parties actually rests on the Courts and on the lawyers??

Is it not also crystal clear that the first persons to violate this law included Judge Benjamin Pozon of the Makati Regional Trial Court when the name of Nicole was broadcast on radio? Finally, is not the SCoRP itself guilty of violating such privacy in their recent 9-6 decision ruling on the challenge to the VFA's constitutionality in GR 175888?

I think Evalyn Ursua and Katrina Legarda should be disbarred for intellectual dishonesty and lying on television.


weks said...

To me it's not a question whether it is legal to publish full names of both the victim & the accused but whether it is moral on media's end to do so. I see no point in disclosing Nicole's full identity. What would have been the point to the disclosure or of any victims of a crime for that matter? Would it help them move on with their lives later on? Or would it make their lives harder since insensitive media people chose to reveal their real identities for the sake of "telling the truth?" I agree when Cheche Lazaro expressed that this could be merely a move on PDIs part to be the first to do so. While I don't believe that Daniel Smith is totally to be blamed for the "rape" (I put in quoatation marks due to nicole's recent expressed doubts on the matter) and while I have doubts that Nicole is totally innocent to be in that difficult situation w/ Smith in the first place, I disagree with their identities being revealed in public. There is just no point to all of that.

On the flipside, I saw your guesting at The Explainer and while I don't totally agree that not teaching Darwin could very well obliterate our chances of advancement in science, your almost coming to blows with the good Priest provided such a spectacle for me and my husband that for the first time we were greatly entertained by Manolo's show! :)) Hope to read and hear more of your interesting views in the days to come. More Power!

DJB Rizalist said...

Thanks weks, for a very thoughtful comment.

ricelander said...

This is enlightening Dean. Kala ko victim lang dapat. Well, okay...

DJB Rizalist said...

you realize of course that this is basis for dismissal of the case for lack of due process and equal protection?

jcc34 said...


It is my privileged too to link your blog to mine. :)

manuelbuencamino said...


Daniel Smith is a CONVICTED RAPIST!!!!!

DJB Rizalist said...

manuel buencamino is an unethical apist of Gabriela and Ursua!!!!!

manuelbuencamino said...


Stop your self righteous posturing about presumption of innocence and all that. You approved of torture for suspected terrorists. You even resorted to that silly ticking time bomb theory to justify the unlawful torture and detention of suspected terrorists. Talk about ethics. Eeeew!

Daniel Smith was tried and CONVICTED. His conviction is on appeal. You cannot claim for him what you would not grant others.

DJB Rizalist said...

Hahaha. From unethical, unfair and unjust blogger, you are transmogrifying into a simple troll. Tsk Tsk.

manuelbuencamino said...


"Hahaha. From unethical, unfair and unjust blogger, you are transmogrifying into a simple troll. Tsk Tsk."

I'm just following you around making sure to keep you ethical, fair and just.

Remember our exchamges on torture in your blog or are you suffering from selective memory?