The City Prosecutor’s Office on Monday pressed child abuse charges against six Xavier University Grade School (XUGS) academics.
Two of the eight respondents – Xavier president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J. and guidance counselor Annie Oclarit – were not included in the case, according to assistant prosecutor Rodrigo Talledo Sr.
In a nine-page resolution, Talledo recommended charges for alleged violation of RA 7160 against teacher Prudencia Banuag, XU Grade School principal Fatima Paepke, prefect of discipline renilo Abella, personnel director Carolina Tandog, human resource director Corazon Medoza and vice president for academic affairs Eva Auxillo.
Talledo said the complaint filed against Fr. Villarin and Oclarit lacked merit.
“There is no sufficient evidence to show that they (Villarin and Oclarit) can be indicted of the crime charged. Their individual acts in connection with their respective duties as school officials cannot be taken as direct participation of the crime charges hence, the complaint against them should be dismissed for want of merit,” he said.
The prosecutor gave weight to the testimony of the Nena (not real name) that she was humiliated on teacher Banuag’s mere suspicion that she cheated in class.
“Granting arguendo that Nena indeed cheats (sic) during the exam, the matter that should be looked into is whether the reaction Teacher Prudy (Banuag) being, a classroom moderator and the manner she questioned the child about cheating incident causes psychological abuse that debases, degrades, or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as human being,” he said.
Talledo said the teacher should have brought the matter to the attention of her superiors and to the parents of Nena, and not to directly confront the child.
He said the discussion should have been limited only to school authorities and the parents with the exclusion of the child.
The prosecutor also frowned over allegations that the girl made up a story. “(It) is highly extraordinary, if not improbable for a girl of her age to concoct and fabricate or retain in her memory a concoction and fabrication of such a sordid events.”
He added: “This case could have been ended then and there and so with the animosities that affected the parties had Teacher Prudy referred the matter to her superiors immediately without taking the initiative to confront Nena,” he pointed out.
He said Paepke, Abella, Auxillo, Tandog and Mendoza – all members of the school’s adhoc committee – added injuries to the already shattered child when they interviewed other people and worst, the classmates of Nena.
Talledo said the committee made it appear that Nena was a bad example.
“The acts of the respondents clearly debases, degrades, or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being hence, it is the view of this office that they are answerable for their acts,” he said. by Lito Rulona Gold Star Daily