10-year sentence for ‘secret groups’ sharing lewd photos of women eyed

By on July 6, 2017


"These people have no right to enjoy our internet freedom only to abuse our women and children. We will not allow them to shame our young women, suppress their right to express themselves through social media and contribute to a culture of misogyny and hate," Sen Risa Hontiveros on Hokage Facebook groups. (Photo: Risa Hontiveros/Facebook)
“These people have no right to enjoy our internet freedom only to abuse our women and children. We will not allow them to shame our young women, suppress their right to express themselves through social media and contribute to a culture of misogyny and hate,” Sen Risa Hontiveros on Hokage Facebook groups. (Photo: Risa Hontiveros/Facebook)

MANILA — A senator on Thursday said she wants the administrators of Pastor Hokage, a secret Facebook group showing lewd photos of women and children, to be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, made the call following reports that “secret groups” on Facebook and other social media actively post and share obscene photos of women and children.

Among these groups is the “Pastor Hokage Bible Study” with members, mostly men, using terms like “Amen” to express their approval for women and children’s obscene photos.

“We will unmask all these misogynists, prosecute them to the full extent of the law and hold them accountable,” Hontiveros said in a press statement.

“These people have no right to enjoy our internet freedom only to abuse our women and children. We will not allow them to shame our young women, suppress their right to express themselves through social media and contribute to a culture of misogyny and hate,” she added.

Hontiveros earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1251 or the Anti-Gender-Based Electronic Violence (GBEV) which seeks to penalize people responsible for misogynistic and homophobic attacks on social media.

The bill defines GBEV as “acts involving use of any form of information and communications technology which causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional or psychological distress or suffering to the female victim or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) victim, and tending to disparage the dignity and personhood of the same on account of his or her gender.”

Offenses listed in Hontiveros’ bill include harassing or threatening the victim through text messaging, posts in social media sites, or other cyber, electronic, or multimedia means.

The measure also proposes the penalty of imprisonment of not less than five years but not more than 10 years and a fine of not less than PHP100,000 but not more than PHP500,000.

“We must put an end to this online locker room talk, which is a manifestation of the culture of misogyny and commodification of women prevalent in our country right now,” Hontiveros said.

“Together with our campaign to make our streets and homes safe spaces for our women and children, we will do the same in the realm of social media. We will give no quarter to misogyny and sexism whether they are online or off,” she added.

Hontiveros said that she wanted the Pastor Hokage group and similar groups to receive the maximum 10-year penalty noting that these acts were not only repeated but also could be profited from.

She also vowed to conduct an investigation on the issue and hold accountable all those behind the said “secret groups.”

She said that her office has already started coordinating with Facebook, pro-women netizens and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).