Twinkle, twinkle, virtual child: An analysis of the constitutionality of the expanded definition of a child under R.A 9775
Date of Publication
Bachelor of Science in Legal Management
Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business
Anne Maureen B. Manigbas
Defense Panel Chair
Edward P. Chico
Defense Panel Member
Rene B. Betita
Larry P. Ignacio
The Internet has become prevalent during the 20th century. Almost all the people in the world use the Internet. The Internet allows anyone to stream or download videos, pictures, and other computer-related files. As a result, the overwhelming advantages of the Internet also led to increase of computer-related crimes such as child pornography.
In the Philippines, pornography per se is not being prohibited by any law. But once it uses or involves children, it will be subjected to R.A. 9775 which prohibits child pornography. The law defines a child as a person below eighteen years of age or a person who is incapable of taking care of himself or herself because of the physical or mental disability. However, it also provided two expanded definition of a child. The second definition includes computer-generated images of a person which appears to be a child.
The definition of a child under R.A. 9775 provides the same definition of a child provided in the UN CRC, OPSC, and other Philippine laws. The expanded definition also satisfies the test for reasonableness in order to be classified as a different classification. Virtual children should have a separate classification with real children.
Under the law, it states that it is unlawful to possess any form of child pornography. Thus, it also includes virtual child pornography such as hentai, where no real child is involved. As a result, it penalizes adults who did not in fact watch or produce pornographies involving real children.
With the inclusion of the words made to appear as a child, the law prohibits anyone in creating or producing motion pictures which will involve virtual children. In the event that a motion picture is classified as pornography, assuming that there is no intent of using the virtual child in pornography, it will then violate the freedom of expression. As a result, it now prohibits expressions that are being protected under the Constitution. Virtual child pornography can be considered as a product of fantasy or imagination.
The expanded definition of a child, therefore, violates the three Constitutional rights of a person-- equal protection, right to privacy, and freedom of expression. The expanded definition of a child which involves virtual children should not be treated the same as a real child. Thus, the law cannot prohibit the mere possession of virtual child pornography and as well as the production and creation of such materials.
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Child pornography--Law and legislation--Philippines
Cruz, J. R., & Yu, T. H. (2015). Twinkle, twinkle, virtual child: An analysis of the constitutionality of the expanded definition of a child under R.A 9775. Retrieved from https://animorepository.dlsu.edu.ph/etd_bachelors/5594