Social Networks, Sex Videos and Blackmail

We received an email regarding voyeurism, a topic which we discussed before (see WHAT VOYEURISM? MEET THE ANTI-PHOTO AND VIDEO VOYEURISM ACT OF 2009 (RA 9995) and Around the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Law). The email asked for information on where to file a complaint for voyeurism and the accompanying threat to publish the sexy photos/videos (basically blackmail), a predicament experienced by many others. The letter reads:

Ako po si xxx at biktima po ako ng voyeurism. Ngayon po ay bina-blackmail ako nuung tao na may hawak ng pics and videos ko. Hindi ko po kilala yung taong yun at sabi niya kung hindi raw ako papayag sa gusto niya, ikakalat niya raw po sa youtube yung video ko. Saang agency ng gobyerno po ako pwedeng humingi ng tulong regarding sa problema ko? Ayoko ko po sana kumalat at lumala itong problema ko.

Let’s have a general discussion on where to file a complaint for voyeurism and the accompanying threat to publish the sexy photos/videos (basically blackmail). Please understand that, as noted in the caveat in this blog, we do not and cannot give any legal advice in this forum.

There are a number of options. One is to proceed directly in filing a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office. This, however, requires the preparation of the complaint-affidavit. This is where the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) or the free legal aid clinics come in.

Other victims resort to reporting the matter with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or the Philippine National Police (PNP), each with a specialized group/division to better handle this type of crimes. The PNP has the Anti-Cybercrime Group, located inside Camp Crame (near the CIDG) and the NBI has its Cybercrime Division. In June this year, the NBI Cybercrime Group arrested the man responsible for “upskirting” incidents (taking photos and videos under a woman’s skirt) in the University Belt. The NBI also made a number of arrests of men who attempted to blackmail individuals with the threat of releasing sex videos or photos.

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