Migs was the first to break the news about a police raid that occurred at Queeriosity Palace (Multiply site) at around 1 a.m. last Saturday morning, April 19. Queeriosity Palace is this new gay bath house that just recently opened on April 5 and it is owned by Wilbert, who also owns Fahrenheit Cafe in Quezon City. All the patrons and staff in Queeriosity that night were detained at the Pasay City Hall. It's not clear what the charges were but the clients were eventually released at around 4 a.m.
lOOking4LoVE, a Guys4Men member, was one of those detained and a he recounts his experience in a thread (log-in needed) at the G4M forums:
"So traumatic. My first time. and we're busted. hay. [...] kailangan daw isama lahat para malaman kung sino employee at customers. after malaman, yung customers papauuwiin daw. pero antagal namin dun. nagpapaimportante pa siguro. parang hostage tuloy kami. na hanggat walang lagay ung may ari e di kami papauwiin. [...] ang kaso kasi, ung boss police medyo mainit. naninigaw. tapos lagi may panakot mga police na ipapatawag mga pamilya ng mga nahuli e mga tago pa namn kami. dapat talaga alamin kung ano ang kaso kapag nandun. bakit hinuli? ano kaso? kaso pag instant na naandun ka mahirap pala. nauunahan ng kaba."
In the same thread, Wilbert has given his testimonial and he claims that the police told him that the tip-off came from The Mansion, a gay blue bar also in Pasay City (quote edited a bit for clarity):
"Sa mga members [na nandoon] kaninang madaling araw, sorry for what [happened] awhile ago. Kaya kayo sinama sa presinto, they just want to check kung may prostitution nga talaga sa Queeriosity at kung talagang member kayo or staff or mga bayaran. Pero, 'di ko kayo hinayaan alam n'yo yan. You're all in good hands. Ayon sa report, ang complainants ay Mansion; sila ang nag-report. Don't worry guys, this will be [the] first and the last hassle para sa Queeriosity members. Rest assured it won't happen again. [...] To Mansion management: kailangan ko [i-voice-out] itong ginawa n'yo sa akin at para malaman ng gay community. [...] Queeriosity is still open for business."
Read the thread to get a better feel for what happened and so that you can make your own decision on how to view the incident.
In an e-mail letter, which was posted in a thread at the PinoyPride.Org forums, Danton Remoto, chair of Ang Ladlad, a gay party-list group that was denied by COMELEC to run in last year's national election, shares his statement and some advice:
At 1 am, a member of the gay community sent me a text message saying that police had raided Queeriosity Bath House in Pasay and brought lots of gay men in the Pasay City Hall. Queeriosity is owned by Wilbert, who also owns Fahrenheit in QC. They were asking me for help, and for me to bring lawyers..
Unfortunately, I slept at 12 midnight. I had gone through two radio interviews and two TV interviews regarding the Cebu rectal-surgery scandal and had taught two summer classes at the Ateneo. I also contacted the lawyer of the victim so Ang Ladlad could extend counseling and legal help to him. was only able to get an update this morning at 8 am.
My friend said the gay men were sent home at four am. When I asked if the gay men paid a "token fee," my friend did not text back anymore.
What to do when the police raid a bath house?
1. Calmly go with them and make sure you have your ID.
2. Do NOT make a statement if you do not want to, nor sign anything. You should do these in the presence of a lawyer.
3. Do NOT give in to the offers of financial arrangement. You have not done anything wrong. The police raid bath houses before June (school opening) and December (Christmas) because they need money for their families.
Also, the police raid the bath houses in search of sex workers, implying that these places are fronts for prostitution. They still cannot understand that gay men-to-gay men sex is possible. Makitid talaga ang isip nila.
4. After 12 hours (minimum) or 18 hours (maximum), the police should bring you to the fiscal's office for arraignment, prior to filing a case. If not, you can file a case against the police for illegal detention. Eto ang ikinatatakot ng mga pulis, illegal detention charges.
In all the cases we handled against the police, we won because we were able to prove that bath houses and/or gay bars (yung walang nagsasayaw) are not fronts for prostitution at nag-iimbento lang ang mga pulis.
So keep your cool, keep calm, you are entitled to make at least one phone call using the police telephone and to have access to a lawyer.
Just for your guidance. Have a safe life.
Chairman, Ang Ladlad Party List
Interesting words I must say, but while there may ultimately be no legal cause for the detentions and while the cynics in us may call this as just another case of police corruption, the fact is, incidents like this are embarrassing for the discreet PLU. You may not end up in jail but you might out yourself inadvertently to people you care about. Ultimately, it's just a matter if going to these places is a risk you're willing to take. It's a good thing that in the Queeriosity raid, there were no media present, unlike "Oplan Lollipop" where on February 19, 2003, policemen from the Central Police District raided Alta Theater in Cubao at the behest of ABS-CBN mediamen who accompanied the law enforcers with cameras blazing.
What is the legal rationale for these raids? The charges that can be raised stem from three provisions in Philippine Law: 1) Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code or the provision against "immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows," 2) Article 202 of the same Code, also known as the Anti-vagrancy Law, and 3) Republic Act No. 9208 otherwise known as the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. I'll tackle more about these laws and the phenomenon of raids in future articles.