MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Several lawmakers on Friday urged netizens to stop picking on the Ateneo Junior High School student who was caught on camera kicking, punching and bullying schoolmates.
Senator Francis Pangilinan said those against bullying should "never become the monster we seek to defeat."
"Galit tayo sa isang bully at dapat lang pero sa galit natin 'binubully' naman natin siya sa Facebook? So kung ganun ano ang pinagkaiba natin sa kanya?" he said.
(We are mad at a bully as we should, but we also bully him on Facebook? If that's the case, what makes us different from him?)
Senator Nancy Binay echoed Pangilinan's message and called on the public to stop the "vicious cycle of bullying."
"Bullying does not end by bullying the bully. It only worsens the culture of hate," Binay said in a statement.
"Nakakalungkot lang dahil ang (It's sad that) social media has become infected by hatred. Instead of being an instrument of healing, it has become a place of torment," said Binay, who has been a usual target of online bashing due to her skin tone.
"Shaming the bully is not the solution. Let's strive to heal even the tormentors, and work for a bully-free society," she said.
Other lawmakers reminded schools and other institutions to strictly enforce the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.
"Our schools should not forget that under the Family Code, they are legally responsible for kids under their custody #NoToBullying," Senator Sonny Angara said in a tweet.
"Parents shouldn’t tolerate their kids who bully other kids," Senator JV Ejercito said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros called on the Ateneo Junior High School to discipline the student who was bullying his peer.
"I urge the Ateneo to discipline the offender and immediately see to the healing of the victim. I call upon the guidance office of the Ateneo Jr High School Department to be more vigilant, so that the protection of all students is ensured," she said in a statement.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, said the perpetrator might realize his mistake if boxer-turned-politician Sen. Manny Pacquiao were to reprimand him.
"Sasabihin ko sa aking colleague na si Senator @mannypacquiao na pagsabihan niya itong bully ng Ateneo. Tingin ko hindi makakapalag itong bully kay Sen. Manny at baka matanto nitong tao ang masamang ginawa niya sa kapwa," he said in a tweet.
(I will tell my colleague Sen. Manny Pacquiao to reprimand this bully in Ateneo. I think he won't be able to put up resistance against Sen. Manny and he might realize his wrongdoing.)
Ateneo officials earlier said they were investigating the incident. The parents of the student involved, as well as relatives of his alleged victims, have yet to issue a statement.