Read from the GMANews.tv site yesterday that the Court of Appeals upheld the search warrant issued against Mark Verzo, owner and administrator of the (in)famous BoyBastos.com site.
Apparently, it’s been almost two years since this “scandal” started.
We are not here to pass judgment on Mark or to dissect whether the Boy Bastos site was indeed pornographic or if it peddled prostitution or human trafficking. That is the job of the court.
We simply want to monitor updates on the issue, so as to see how this landmark case will end. At the same time, we hope this post will serve as a reminder to other bloggers and site owners that, even though our power as an internet community increases, the government is still there watching us.
Timeline: The BoyBastos.com scandal
September 5, 2007
Senator Loren Legarda announced to the press that she is urging authorities to shut down the website BoyBastos.com for purportedly providing Internet users with free and unrestricted access to the largest online accumulation of “extremely hardcore pornographic materials” of Filipino women and girls.
In her press statement posted on the Philippine Senate website, the senator called the site “by far, the filthiest Internet site we’ve come across” and alleged that “cybersex operators themselves are behind boybastos.com, purposely using free access to rouse a multitude of porn addicts, and lure potential customers that can then be directed to linked paid services.”
September 6, 2007
The operator of the site takes down BoyBastos.com but explained it is only “taking a break” (pahinga muna). It added that the move was due to “surging traffic” to the site and not the criticisms hurled by Sen. Legarda. According to a statement posted on the site: Hindi pa po ito katapusan ng boy bastos. Hanggang walang batas na nagsasabi kung ano ang pwede at hindi pwede gawin, buhay na buhay po ang ating munting site (This is not the end for us. So long as there is no law that says what can and cannot be done, our little site will still be alive).
September 7, 2007
Agents of the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided the Ayala Alabang house of Mark Verzo, supposed owner of BoyBastos.com. The NBI seized computers and other devices to be used as evidence. Verzo was also “invited” to the NBI office for fingerprinting and questioning. He was released later that day and no charges were filed against him. (Watch video.)
September 8, 2007
The homepage of the site is now blank, void of the statement earlier posted taunting Sen. Legarda for trying to shut down the site.
September 24, 2007
Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera instructed NBI director Nestor Mantaring to file charges against the operator of BoyBastos.com and ordered him to “make sure the Web site does not go back online.”
February 24, 2009
The site remains without any content except for a new post inviting visitors to visit the BoyBastos Facebook page “for more updates and information.”
May 12, 2009
The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition of Verzo to declare the search warrant which paved the way for the raid on September 7, 2007 invalid. The court affirmed the validity of the search warrant and 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.
This post will be updated as related developments happen.
Source: News articles from GMANews.tv