Censors want wider powers
A proposed ordinance in Cebu City seeks to expand the powers of its anti-indecency board so that a court order won’t be needed in the inspection and confiscation of indecent materials.
During the City Council’s session last Wednesday, the committee on laws endorsed the amendatory ordinance but Councilor Gerry Carillo said it has to carefully studied.
“This will have legal ramifications if we allow CCAIB to confiscate without a court order. There have been several Supreme Court decisions which say that an agency, board or body cannot do that. There has to be a court order,” Carillo said.
The CAIB or Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board has confiscated tabloids and magazines and tabloids in the past. Last June 30 it seized 238 glossy magazines, including issues of FHM, in the book store “Booksale” in SM City Cebu, sayng the “breast exposure” in some images were indecent.
A public hearing on the measure is set on October 8. Media groups, the academe and church leaders will be invited.
The proposed changes authored by Councilor Lea Japson will amend provisions of City Ordinance 1408 which created the CCAIB.
It seeks to expand the power of CCAIB to conduct frequent inspections and investigations in bookstores, magazine shops, adult stores, spa and massage parlors.
“For this purpose, owners, managers or promoters shall give full and unconditional access to the board or its duly authorized members or deputies in order to conduct inspection of their establishments at any time of the day or night even without any prior court order,” the ordinance reads.
Penalties are also amended so that the printed circulation, obscene pictures, films, books, sex toys and others shall be confiscated and used as evidence against violators.
It also adds more to the list of unlawful acts: allowing minors to perform onstage or in night clubs or KTV bars and allowing the participation of the audience, customers of employees of bars or KTVs in any obscene or lewd shows, whether or not it’s a contest organized by the establishment.
Added to the list of prohibitions are “lingam” or yoni massage or any sexual services” to customers under the guise of therapeutic massage; the selling magazines which contain sensual or sex stories or columns; selling of tabloids which contain lewd pictures or titillating stories or columns; and selling sex toys, accessories or paraphernalia.
An initial amount of P500,000 will be set aside to support CCAIB activities.
The Cebu Citizens Press Council earlier condemned the CCAIB’s outright confiscation of publications without a court order.
It said the board exceeded its authority because only the courts can determine whether material is obscene in nature.
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