By Ma. Teresa Montemayor
PARENTS PROTEST. Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Brenda Manzano (left) and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy attend a meeting at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) in Quezon City on Thursday (May 23, 2019) to tackle the case of male students with pending child abuse and cybercrime charges for allegedly posting nude photos and videos of five female students online. A rally was staged by some PSHS students, teachers and alumni against the male students.(Photo by: Ma. Teresa Montemayor)
MANILA — Some six male students of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) may not graduate after parents of schoolmates and alumni have pressed for their expulsion, six days ahead of the school’s commencement ceremony.
The six male students have pending cases of child abuse and cybercrime for allegedly posting nude photos and videos of five female students online. Some of the girls were reported to be minors.
Dr. Lawrence Madriaga, PSHS main campus director, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday that one of the female students filed a complaint against the male students for spreading her photos and videos, as well as those of her classmates.
“As per the school’s protocol, we took action on it, especially when pieces of evidence were presented. We investigated and the discipline committee conducted interviews and research, and we, the management, reviewed them and recommended possible sanctions and it is given to the Board of Trustees (BOT),” Madriaga said in an interview.
He explained that 10 students were accused but only six were recommended by the management “for non-graduation because not all of them will fall under the non-graduation category based on the gravity of their offense or level of involvement.”
“We and the board had the same classification of the offense. Like we said, it’s level 3 and they agreed that it’s level three, kaya lang nagkaiba dun sa ilang counts ng level 3 dapat (however, they differed on several counts of level 3). So, what’s the implication of that? If you only have one level 3 appreciation of the BOT, you can still graduate unlike multiple level 3s,” he said.
Instead of considering the management’s recommendation of banning the six male students from graduating, Madriaga said he was informed that “they would simply render 30 days of community service.”
“We respect that the members of BOT may have a reason for that decision. So, I just advise everyone that they are free to express their sentiments about the decision because it is their right. But I also encourage them to make their appeal formal,” he added.
In the afternoon, a rally was staged by some PSHS students, teachers and alumni, who appealed to the BOT to reverse their decision.
Samuel Ildefonso Tayag, a PSHS graduate in 1969, joined the rally in support of the victims, reiterating that government scholars must have integrity apart from academic excellence.
“The action of the 14 or so boys is totally outrageous to me and the decision of the BOT is totally unacceptable. Personally, I don’t agree because the moral standards many years ago should not be different from the moral standards right now,” Tayag said.
In a meeting with Madriaga and parent-supporters of the victims on Thursday, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Brenda Manzano said it is a good thing that supporters of the victims were able to “air their sentiments through a peaceful exercise.”
“Being the officer-in-charge at the moment, what I can advise you is that put all your propositions in one paper, enhance it, make it formal and I will help you have a proper forum for this, and the right thing for the board is to convene,” she said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, who was also in the meeting as a concerned parent, questioned the basis of BOT’s decision.
“Is there truth to what some say that the decision was reversed as some of the parents of the six students were powerful?” she asked Manzano.
Manzano said she’s not a board member so she cannot attest or belie the claim. She also reiterated her suggestion for them to formalize their appeal and present it to DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, who is a member of the BOT.
“I’m not sure if the graduation is on Wednesday next week. You still have tomorrow and the weekend to file whatever you need to file,” she told Badoy and other parents, supporting the victims. (PNA)