‘Bikini opens’ still no go in Cebu

THE Capitol’s stand against “bikini open” competitions stays, especially this Holy Week.

Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale turned down an application for a permit to hold one such contest, saying these events run counter to the Women’s Code.

Similar to suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s stand, Magpale said she will tap local government officials and the PNP to help monitor “wild parties” and discourage bikini open shows in towns this summer.

“Should local governments give permits for bikini open contests? I don’t think so; that violates the code. In fact, local governments should monitor these activities,” Magpale told reporters.

She will also remind the PNP representative in the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) meeting to guard against these prohibited shows. The PWC will convene next week, as part of the Women’s Month celebration.

Original intent

Article 1, Section 5 of the Women Development Code of Cebu prohibits “beauty contests that tend to commodify, abuse, humiliate and treat women as sex objects.” The prohibition applies to all “schools, communities and barangays.”

Magpale recalled that when they drafted the code, the officials intended to stop bikini open shows, particularly as there was a rape case at that time in Mactan that was linked to one such show.

In 2009, Governor Garcia filed charges against show business personalities Maui Taylor, Jennifer Lee and Paolo Paraiso, over their “Summer Pump” performance at a beach resort in Sta. Fe town, Bantayan during the Holy Week.

Those behind the show—Elton Tiu, Asuncion Celia-Floro, Rommel Salomon and Mercury Gumera—were likewise impleaded.

Forgiving the violators

Prosecutors found probable cause to indict them for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits “immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows.” The penalty for those found guilty is six years and one day to 12 years in prison.

Lee, together with the impleaded organizers of the show, asked for Garcia’s forgiveness. Taylor at first sent her mother to the governor’s office, and risked arrest in 2010.

The Provincial Government eventually promised to drop the case if those involved apologized.

Lee and Taylor later agreed to speak during the Women’s Congress in Cebu on March 19, 2010.
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