Thursday, September 1, 2011

Photoshop Can Get You Landed in Jail!

Who would have thought that sending a photoshopped picture imposing the face of an old flame on another person’s body could land you in jail! Rustan Ang certainly did not think so. For that mistake, he now has to spend some downtime sharing bunks with hard-core criminals, while contemplating the stupidity of his actions.

Rustan and Irish used to date, until Irish discovered Rustan’s other pregnant girlfriend. And just like what any sane girl would do in such a situation, she broke up with him. Despite the none-too-subtle split, Rustan continued to pester Irish with numerous text messages pleading her to take him back. Irish tried to ignore Rustan’s endless barrage of SMS … but one particular message was a bit harder to ignore.

One early morning, Irish received through multimedia message service (MMS) a picture of a naked woman with spread legs and Irish’s face superimposed on the figure. The sender’s cellphone number was identified to belong to Rustan.

Not content, Rustan persisted in texting Irish threatening to unleash scandalous photoshopped-pictures of Irish in the internet. Distraught, Irish sought the assistance of the Vice Mayor who ordered the arrest of Rustan. For the single act of sending a nude picture photoshopped to look like Irish, Rustan was charged and convicted with violation of Section 5(h) of R.A. 9262.

Incidentally, this case illustrates the point that Rules of Electronic Evidence is not applicable to criminal proceedings. Rustan questioned the admissibility of the photograph. Considering that the picture was sent through text, it constitutes an electronic document. Thus, Rustan claimed that the photograph should have been authenticated by means of an electronic signature, as provided under Section 1, Rule 5 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence. The Court however, clarified that the Rules on Electronic Evidence apply only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings and administrative proceedings … and not to criminal actions.

So boys and girls, the next time you think about poking fun at someone and photoshopping their bodies to resemble that of a porn star, think about Rustan Ang and the possibility of being bunk buddies with him in Bilibid Prison.

Entry #11

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