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Looks like the “Pastors” glory days are numbered.

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday filed a bill seeking ‘stiff’ punishment for the members of closed groups on Facebook that exchange and distribute pornography.

Senate Bill No. 125, or the Anti-Gender-Based Electronic Violence (GBEV), aims to penalize misogynistic and homophobic attacks on social media.

The bill specified the attacks as harassing or threatening the victim through text messaging, posts in social media sites, or other cyber, electronic, or multimedia means. Those committing these acts could spend 5 to 10 years of prison time and a fine of Php 100,000 to Php 500,000.

“These people have no right to enjoy our internet freedom only to abuse our women and children. We will not allow them to shame our young women, suppress their right to express themselves through social media and contribute to a culture of misogyny and hate,” Hontiveros said on her Facebook account.

The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women also vowed to investigate and hold accountable all those behind the “secret group,” adding that her office has already started coordinating with Facebook, pro-women netizens, and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

“We will unmask all these misogynists, prosecute them to the full extent of the law and hold them accountable,” she added.

The senator authored the bill after online reports detailed how “secret groups” on Facebook share lewd photos and videos of women and children calling it their ‘ambag’ in feeding the community’s ‘sexual appetite.’

The groups masquerade their activities through names such as “Pastor Hokage Bible Study” and commenting ‘Amen’ as a sign of approval for the shared images.

“We must put an end to this online locker room talk, which is a manifestation of the culture of misogyny and commodification of women prevalent in our country right now,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros also stressed that the punishment for “Pastor Hokage” should be at the maximum, “given that these acts are repeated, involve multiple women at any given time, and may even be profited from.”

“Together with our campaign to make our streets and homes safe spaces for our women and children, we will do the same in the realm of social media. We will give no quarter to misogyny and sexism whether they are online or off,” Hontiveros said.


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