Parent says principal should apologize first; School lawyer says ‘ no way’
“There is a possibility (of a compromise). I’m open to that. But there should be an apology from (school directress) Sister Ma. Purisima Pe through print or a tarpaulin,” the mother told Cebu Daily News.
She said her daughter, who was barred from attending the high school graduation last March 30, is also open to dsicussing a compromise agreement with STC to end the court dispute.
Criminal charges were filed on Monday by STC against three parents and a guardian for allegedly violating the special law on child abuse for “failing to supervise their minor children/ward” and allowing their daughters to “lead an immoral an dissolute life.”
The charges were the latest in a series of litigation after parents of four students sued STC for barring their daughters’ presence in the March 30 graduation.
The mother said the school is free to file charges but “filing is different from winning” the case.
“If Sister Pe can apologize for humanitarian reasons, maybe I can bow down. She has to give vindication to what she did to my daughter,” the mother said.
But STC lawyer Joan Largo said an apology from Sister Pe is unlikely to happen.
“We can’t apologize for something we did not do wrong,” Largo said
Sister Pe, STC assistant principal Mussolini Yap and three alumni members filed the criminal complaint arising from Facebook photos showing five senior high school classmates in conduct the school said was “lewd” and “obscene.”
The photos showed the students in various candid poses wearing bikinis, drinking in a bar, and engaged in what the school called “lewd” conduct that violated the Students’ Hadbook.
Cebu Daily News is withholding names of the parents and guardian to avoid identifying the minors.
The elders will be asked to file counteraffidavits with the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
They were accused of violating Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act in relation to Presidential Decree 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code.
“We filed a case and that’s it. Let’s see what will happen,” Largo said.
She said STC believed the three parents and guardian failed to supervise their children and haven’t instilled in them Christian values.
Since the parents tolerated their behavior, the underage students saw nothing wrong with drinking, smoking and exposing their bodies to the public, the school officials said.
Lawyer Cornelio Mercado, counsel of the three parents and the guardian who got sued by STC,
Mercado said a compromise agreement with STC was not likely.
“As of now, a compromise is remote,” he said. Mercado said the charges filed by STC against his clients won’t scare them.
“Maybe, they are thinking that we will cow in fear. They are wrong. Right from the beginning, we went to court because they (STC officials) violate due process,” he said.
He also said he has yet to consult the grandfather of one of the teenage girls on what actions to take.
One high school senior originally filed a case for injunction against STC for prohibiting her from attending her graduation ceremony last March 30.
Three other classmates, accompanied by three parents and a guardian, intervened in the pending case in court.
A temporary restraining order issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro of Branch 19 was ignored by STC, which barred the students from attending the graduation.
The main complainant eventually backed off from the case after entering into a compromise agreement with STC.
The parents and guardians of three girls then filed charges of grave oral defamation in relation to the Anti-Child Abuse Law (Republic Act 7610) and violation of the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (Republic Act 9995) on STC officials.
They said the school owes them an “apology” and compensation for damages as well because the girls were “humiliated” and called “sluts” and “addicts” when they were called into the principals office to be confronted about their violaton of school rules.
In a press statement, STC said molding the youth to become persons of integrity and personal discipline is the job of both the parents and the school.
But Mercado said STC seemed to know better than the parents.
“They (STC officials) think they are better off than the parents,” he said. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter