St. Scholastica alumnae eye legal action vs cyber bullies

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2016 04:44 PM

Alumnae of St. Scholastica's College in Manila are threatening to take legal action against those bullying the school's students over their participation in the protest against the burial of former Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

"We have taken note of the identity of these individuals and are considering the best possible legal remedies to protect these children and their rights," according to a statement signed by a thousand St. Scholastica alumnae.

"Those who have attacked these young Scholasticans by way of threats, harassment, hurtful comments and cyberbullying are the ones who are committing child abuse," it added.

Last week, some netizens accused St. Scholastica of committing "child abuse" for supposedly forcing its students to participate in the protests.

The alumnae said they are "concerned" over the proliferation of these "false reports" that have reportedly "triggered cyberbullying attacks against young Scholasticans."

"As graduates of this educational institution, we attest that St. Scholastica’s College provides a safe place for students to learn and understand social and political issues within and outside of the confines of the classroom," they said.

"We urge netizens to be vigilant and cautious of this negative propaganda," they added.

They also explained that "active social participation of children" is not a form of child abuse. 

The Philippine Constitution specifically “recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs," they said.

They added that the UN Convention on the Rights of Children also states that "children have the basic right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds."

In fact, they said St. Scholastica has been "at the forefront" of protest action since the 1980s, which they plan to continue in the future.

"We have faith that the younger Scholasticans will benefit from the holistic education that the school continues to provide," they said.

"We implore everyone to respect opinions of others and avoid personal and unwarranted attacks against our fellow Scholasticans. We all want the best for the younger generation. Thus, it is our shared duty as Filipinos to protect our nation's children," they added.

Earlier, a lawyer also wrote a letter to the Philippine National Police seeking information about a police officer who allegedly harassed online a female student for joining a street rally against the Marcos burial.

In response, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said he will investigate the officer.

"Bakit naging pulis yun? Baka hindi nakapasa ng neuro psychiatric exam yun? Bakit ganun ang utak nung pulis na iyon. Ipa neuro ko ulit. Kapag bumagsak tanggal sa serbisyo," he said.