No pressure behind decision to bar 6 students from graduation rites: Pisay board

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2019 08:34 PM | Updated as of May 29 2019 09:05 PM

MANILA—The Philippine Science High School (PSHS) board of trustees denied being pressured by parents and students on the decision to ban 6 boys from Wednesday's graduation rites.

PSHS executive-director Lilia Habacon stressed it was not a sudden decision but one that went through a long process.

“No, no, mahaba, mahaba ’yung deliberation, hindi lang naman ’yan face to face, may email communications, mahaba,” Habacon said.

Six male seniors were not allowed to attend their graduation ceremony after being accused of uploading nude photos of their underaged ex-girlfriends, also PSHS scholars, online 2 years ago.

“None of them will march, 3 will get diplomas while 3 will get certificates of completion only, but only, after requirements that are part of the penalty are completed or served,” science secretary Fortunato dela Peña confirmed Tuesday.

Habacon said the parents and students were directly informed Tuesday night by the board, but she did not specify the penalties or requirements to be completed by the students.

“Hindi ako at liberty to say ano ’yung additional, kung ano man. Irespeto natin ’yung mga parents sa request nila for privacy. Hindi ko mase-share sa inyo,” she told media Wednesday.

In a statement, the PSHS board clarified that it has "exclusive authority to resolve or decide matters of non-graduation or termination of scholarship, based on extensive consultation and comprehensive facts, including but not limited to precedent cases and specific circumstances.”

Communications undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, whose daughter studied as PSHS, considers Wednesday’s graduation as a day of victory, saying that she and her daughter knew most of the victims and their parents personally.

“We’re thankful to the board, because this could’ve gone terribly wrong, kung pinanindigan nila ’yung mali. Ngayon masaya ’yung graduation, no mention of them, the children got what they deserve,” she said.

Badoy was among the parents and students who staged a protest inside the PSHS grounds Monday, as they awaited the board’s decision on the final list of graduates.

“It's very important to give a statement as strong as this,” she said.

Mark Ebson Susana, a PSHS graduate, said the issue has been 1-sided, adding that he is friends with 2 of the boys who were banned from the graduation rites.

“ ’Yung ilan du’n, hindi po sila ’yung main perpetrators. Parang nakatanggap lang, hindi sila ’yung nag-start,” he said.

“Sana sa level pa lang ng discipline committee nagkaroon na ng magandang investigation. Tama ’yung parusahan pero ang problema is sino ba talaga ’yung nagkasala? Sino ’yung na-frame lang?”

Susana revealed it has been “tradition” since 2014 among some students to be given “access” to a gallery in Google drive in exchange for nude photos. 

Habacon assured that PSHS is looking carefully into the issue and whether it warrants a change in school policies. She also urged parents and students to come forward with complaints.

“Kung meron sila, ibigay nila sa nararapat na pamamaraan, and irespeto lahat ng involved, kung may alam sila mas mabuti malaman din namin,” she said.