01 June 2009

Boy Bastos Faces More Trouble

Boy Bastos offline?
Boy Bastos website just lost a battle, but the administrator is still confident of winning the war. This is after the Court of Appeals has affirmed the validity of the search warrant issued by the Muntinlupa RTC for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the alleged illegal activities of the site.

The Web site allegedly provided easy Internet access to pornographic materials and patronized the prostitution of women and children. It is a pity that the administrator of the site will not be charged with a much greater offense that will penalize him with life imprisonment, including forfeiture of all his assets and a public lashing and stripping.

In an 11-page decision penned by Associate Justice Myrna Dimaranan-Vidal, the CA’s Second Division dismissed the petition filed by Mark Verzo, administrator of the Web site, seeking to quash the search warrant on the ground of lack of probable cause. The appellate court said it found sufficient ground to charge Verzo for violation of Section 5 of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

The CA said also that the Muntinlupa RTC followed the prescribed procedure for the issuance of search warrant as the judge personally questioned NBI special investigator Roel Jovenir and his witnesses.

"In the instant case after the conduct of the technical surveillance on the [Web site] www.boybastos.com which identified the petitioner as the [Web site’s] administrator, proper physical surveillance and investigation were thereafter conducted by special investigators and which led the latter to believe that petitioner caused the advertisement of various internet porn sites through www.boybastos.com," the CA said.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Portia AliƱo-Hormachuelos and Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente.

Verzo in his petition insisted that Muntinlupa RTC Branch 276 Judge Romulo Villanueva committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the search warrant because he claimed Jovenir, who applied for it, has no personal knowledge of the facts upon which it was issued. Welcome to the world wide web Verzo! And considering that Verzo is supposed to be adept in computer technology, he should know by now how 'knowledge of the facts' can easily be generated by following the bread crumbs inside the net. If this information is not palatable to Verzo's taste, then maybe he should be aware that the NBI has a huge brood of IT hangers-on inside their office who can crack his password as easily as he can say "the truth is out there."

He further said that the search warrant is invalid because the lower court failed to take the deposition of the applicant and his witnesses. Now, this one is really trying to insult the intelligence and piss off the vast majority of Filipino citizens struggling to protect their mothers, sisters and daughters from predatory sex maniacs still roaming the streets.

A lay person who has not studied law at all might ask Verzo, whose mind seems to be displaying schoolboy naivety coupled with customary wishful thinking as he faced these charges, how can a search warrant issued after the fact be invalid just because the deposition, which will be taken after the fact, was not made?

Based on the NBI investigation, Jovenir filed an application for search warrant on 7 September 2007 to authorize the search and seizure of the property, articles and objects being used by the petitioner to operate the Web site. The lower court granted Jovenir’s application on the same day.