Pirated DVDs: Ronald Llamas’s apology misses the more important point

According to presidential adviser on political affairs Ronald Llamas, he is sorry for being an enthusiastic patron of pirated (illegally copied and distributed) DVDs because he is “no longer a regular guy”. I wonder then what this says about the typical regular Filipino guy? I have many times in the past asserted that Filipino government officials for all their being made out to be the source of all that plague the chronically impoverished country are, to be fair, mere reflections of the society they rule over. In that sense Llamas is right. His actions reflect what would have been expected of regular Filipinos. But he is, excuse us, a top-ranking government official.

Llamas was reportedly caught on video “casually buying almost P2,000 worth of pirated DVDs” at (according to him) “Circle C mall on Congressional Avenue”. Fortunately for Llamas — a close friend and shooting buddy of Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III — Philippine Laws are quite flaccid when it comes to distribution and possession of illegal copies of intellectual property. Republic Act 10088, known as the “Anti-Camcording Act of 2010” only covers possession and use of audio-visual recording devices in Philippine theatres.

There so far seems to be no national laws covering the sale, distribution, and possession of the products of the illegal activities covered by R.A. 10088 — such as pirated DVDs. Whatever regulations in place that cover distribution of pirated content are made up primarily of various local ordinances in force in one municipality or the other. In the Quiapo district of Manila, for example, a “total ban on pirated DVDs” is supposedly in effect. According to Optical Media Board (OMB) Secretary Dennis Pinlac, however, Quiapo is merely “a test center” from which, it is presumably hoped “a domino effect” will emanate to “other areas”.

Indeed, despite R.A. 10088 representing the nation’s most concrete law against film piracy, camcorders in theatres apparently represent but a tiny component of the overall source of pirated DVDs in the Philippines. OMB Chairman Ronnie Ricketts cited China as “the biggest producer of pirated DVDs”. Illegal Chinese DVDs are, according to Ricketts, shipped to the Philippines “via the country’s backdoor, Zamboanga”.

Perhaps then, Llamas is right. He needs to shape up as he is expected to be better than the average Filipino who, for his part, is so rat-poor that he should be excused for partaking in what is actually an ample supply of bootlegged DVDs in the country. It can even be argued (using the perverted logic of those who embrace the Filipino’s renowned Philosophy of the Victimised) that the ordinary Filipino may be entitled to this abundant contraband. As a matter of fact, it seems that it is precisely that sort of thinking that Llamas and his apologists now use to rationalise their way out of this presidential scandal…

“Pirated goods will attract ordinary people when the originals are excessively priced,” [former University of the Philippines president Francisco] Nemenzo said in a press statement.

Nemenzo said he had been a close friend of Llamas for the past 30 years and that he knew him to be “an assiduous bargain hunter who shuns expensive department stores and boutiques.”

He recalled that during a conference he and Llamas attended in Europe a few years ago, the latter “dragged (Nemenzo) to a flea market where they searched for treasures in piles of rubbish.” This was when the conference “became unbearably boring.”

As usual, pompous populism trumps the real point, which can be encapsulated in the simple question:

Is buying stolen property right?

Whether one is an “ordinary” Filipino or a top-ranked official of the Philippine government is obviously beside the point when considering a response to the above question. We aspire to be a society where justice is represented by a blindfolded chick holding up a balance. It seems though that even that cliché of a notion is still something too big for the Filipino mind to grasp.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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30 Comments on "Pirated DVDs: Ronald Llamas’s apology misses the more important point"

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I guess, if it was Justice Corona who got caught buying these pirated goods, the President would be quick to crucify him in the media and would ask all government agencies (including the SK who has jurisdiction over where Circle C Mall is situated) to conduct an investigation and look whether Corona’s SALn is reflective of his being able to buy P2,000-worth of pirated DVDs.


a leopard doesnt change its spots.
llamas has been corrupt and without integrity all his life so for him it is just normal behaviour.

weakling p-noy will do nothing – except joke about it. idiots


I strongly agree with you Sir Elvin. Very good insight.


Takipan lang yan. Napaka-onesided talaga ni PNot kapag tao nya pagtatakpan o gagawa ng excuse na maliit lang yun. Kung tutuusin walang malaki o maliit na kasalanan kung nasa gobyerno ka. Magpakita naman ng magandang halimbawa. Sabagay, ano pa bang aasahan sa isip-batang administrasyon.


Llamas cannot be fired because it (buying pirated goods) has nothing to do with his job. – Erap


Ang cheap naman ni Ronald Llamas, pwede naman syang magdownload ng movie sa internet, mas makakatipid pa nga sya dun at mas maganda ang quality, mahina!!
hehehe 🙂

Lord Chimera

Well one cannot say that Pnoy’s KKK system is working for Llamas. Anyone care to bet that there’s gonna be a third Llamas mistake? After all anyone who got off lightly on their wrongdoing tends to grow arrogance.

Der Fuhrer

What a sordid pattern of impunity! At his level…Ronald Llamas showed his bad example of purchasing pirated DVD’s. From the high viewpoint of Mr. matuwid(na maluwag) na daan, nobody can touch his political adviser except him. I am betting two beers with my friend that Llamas will stay.

Der Fuhrer

It’s no longer KKK. It is now KKKK… this stands for:

Kaibigan Kabarilan Kapamilya Komunista


Could Llamas and Nemenzo’s attendance to that conference (which they left to go shopping) have been paid for by gov’t funds? Likely so if they attended as UP staff. I should know, I’m a UP employee. Form of corruption from people who are holier than thou. And now they are open supporters/officials of a Prez who hates corruption (only if its connected to Arroyo). Life is unfair in this fun country.
And BTW, LLamas is such a huge idiot!

Hyden Toro
If Llamas would had been an ordinary guy, like you and me…he would had been hauled to the nearest Police Station, charged, and exacted a fine. Maybe Llamas was buying the pirated copies of the De Lima-Driver “Kama Sutra” Quickie sexual encounters in De Lima’s office, at the Department of Justice… Llamas must be contemplating to have his agents sell these pirated/reproduced DVDs in Quiapo…make a fortune of them…50% mark-up in price is possible. Since the people involved are interesting people… At least, we have some humorous incident, to take away our worries of prices of basic commodities, increasing everyday…the… Read more »
Der Fuhrer

People in the news broadsheets are warning of an approaching(I say mixed red and yellow)people mob power. The object of the plan is to occupy the Supreme Court. This mass action will be above and beyond the rule of law. Keep your eyes and ears open in the coming days. Should the palace tenant launch his attempt for absolute control we will be living in very dangerous times.


I wonder if the issue about the Pres dating Grace Lee was brought to the public’s attention just to cover this one with Llamas, an attempt to cover rather. I really wonder why this man’s still holding his position in the palace. PNoy can’t make him resign? I can sense too much bromance.


[…] the name Ronald Llamas? Llamas, adviser on political affairs to the President, early this year was caught on video buying pirated DVDs at a mall. Like plagiarism, there is no existing Philippine law that penalises purchase of stolen […]