Playboy, FHM’s Manila editors, tabloids sued over ‘obscene publications’
MANILA, Philippines—Several editors of various magazines and tabloid newspapers, including Playboy, Maxim and FHM, were charged with obscene publication in the Manila Regional Trial Court on Thursday for printing allegedly lewd photos of nude bodies.
The case stemmed from joint complaints filed by pastors and preachers of Bible Baptist Churches in Metro Manila, led by Manila District 6 Rep. Bienvenido Abante, also a senior pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church of Sta. Ana.
The complainants said portions of the publications covering the period of September 2007 to July 2008 contained pornographic, erotic or indecent pictures that exhibited nude or semi-nude bodies, sexual acts and private parts of male and female bodies with no educational, artistic, cultural or scientific value.
The complainants claimed that the photos were clearly and purely intended or calculated to draw lust, stimulate sexual drive, excite impure imagination or arouse prurient interest in violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code (obscene publication), Article 200 (grave scandal) and City Ordinance No. 7780 which prohibits the publication and sale of pornographic materials.
Named respondents were: Maxim Philippines (ABS-CBN Publishing Inc.) editor in chief Pierre Inaki Calasanz, former managing editor Beting Dolor, former general manager Thelma Sioson San Juan, and head circulation Rina Lareza;
Playhouse Men’s Magazine (Atlas Publishing Co.) editor in chief Zak Zorro Zamora, managing editor Dexter Matilla, general manager Deo Alvarez Jr., and circulation manager Norie Villanueva;
Playboy Philippines editor in chief Ramon Faustino, former managing editor Vince Sales, and circulation manager Clarissa Palomo;
For Him Magazine (FHM) (Summit Publishing) editor in chief Allan Madrilejos, managing editor Allan Hernandez, and circulation manager Glenda Gil;
Sagad (Universal Publishing) editor in chief Editha Asumbrado, president Lyn Panus, and vice president for publication Mae Mai Gener;
Hataw (JSY Publishing) managing editor Gloria Galuno and circulation manager Edwin Alcala;
Toro (Nightlife Publishing) editor in chief Joe Dalde.
The city prosecutors recommended the exclusion from the case of Summit chair of the board Lance Gokongwei and president Lisa Gokongwei; and ABS-CBN Publishing chair of the board Eugenio Lopez III and president Ernesto Lopez as their participation in the publication of photos deemed obscene was not established.
FHM and Playboy, in their defense, said the complainants made a sweeping statement of commission of a single crime by all the respondents based on the copies of the portions of publications without directly pointing to the acts of each respondents.
In the urgent motion for a bill of particulars, respondents from the FHM said “the specific acts supposedly committed by the respondents in the purported publication are not indicated in the complaint-affidavit in particularity as to allow them to know and understand the cause of the accusation against them.”
Playhouse raised the same argument, adding that it has never published nudity, private parts of men and women, thus it could not be considered an obscene publication.
Maxim said the photos of actresses showing some skin were tastefully done and did not depict any sexual act or nudity.
Respondents from Hataw asked to dismiss the case for lack of merit since according to the Miller test, a picture of a woman in a swimsuit does not depict sexual conduct in a patently offensive way. Sagad and Toro failed to submit counter-affidavits.
The prosecutors dismissed the case of grave scandal and violation of the city ordinance but recommended the filing of obscene publication charges.
Bail was set at P24,000 for each respondents.
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